Schumacher delivers verdict on replacing Hamilton at Mercedes


Hamilton dropped a bombshell a week ago when he announced he would be leaving a team that has helped him win six of his record-equalling seven F1 drivers’ titles.

The 39-year-old opted to exercise a break clause in a contract he only extended at the end of August last year, and will join Ferrari, a team that he stated he has long dreamed of driving for.

Naturally, speculation has since been rife as to who will replace Hamilton, with Schumacher amongst those mentioned due to his role as reserve driver with Mercedes after two difficult seasons with Haas.

But the 24-year-old has made clear it is not something that has been on his mind as he is now also focused on his WEC career with Alpine.

Asked by RacingNews365 at the launch of Alpine’s Hypercar, alongside its new F1 challenger, as to whether he was looking at the Mercedes seat next year, Schumacher replied: “On that topic, I didn’t really think much (about it).

“I’m very happy with the sort of engineering team I have around me, I think we’ve got a better understanding of, you know, what we need, both as a team and myself as a driver.

“I think the team understood well, what are the sort of characteristics in the way that that I work, and we’re doing really well.

“So I think it’s mainly about keeping that collaboration going and keeping that way of working together to finish the year. And I must say, I’m quite confident on that side, let’s just start the season from where we left off.

“We’re obviously here at Alpine for the launch of the car, and what’s going to come in the next few weeks, we will have to see.”

Schumacher to Alpine

Schumacher has made clear that his move to Alpine was an obvious one given the fact it is “a whole new project”, with the ambitions within the team very high.

“It just really sparked that flame in me to want to go and race here, so I’m happy to be here and I guess the feeling is kind of mutual,” he said.

“Honestly, Bruno (Famin, VP Alpine Motorsports), came to me very early last year, asking me whether I’d like to join the programme.

“Obviously, at the time, I was still very much looking at Formula 1 and trying to go in that direction, but that door didn’t open for me.

“But the offer was still there, and it was a very good opportunity for me to go into Endurance racing and have racing again, but also at the same time be very close to Formula 1.”

In his debut WEC season, Schumacher will at least be able to lean on two highly experienced team-mates Nico Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere in the #36 machine.

Recognising his position in the team, Schumacher said: “I haven’t been a rookie in a while. it feels like being a rookie again.

“But it’s great sharing the car with two very experienced drivers in Endurance and getting to know them better, getting to know the ways of how to work in this racing environment, and I’m very happy to be a part of it.”




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