Is another Formula 1 option off the table for Mick Schumacher? AlphaTauri is about to make its first driver change of the new Formula 1 season. However, both Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher are probably not options for the Red Bull junior racing team.
The 33-year-old Australian in particular had recently been linked by several media to the second-worst team of the Formula 1 year so far with rookie Nyck de Vries threatened with retirement from AlphaTauri given his horror start with five races without a single point.
As reported by TJ13 earlier this week, Red Bull’s junior driver mentor and advisor Helmut Marko have told Alpha Tauris’ recruit to get a move on.
Nyck de Vries was recruited by Red Bull to replace Pierre Gasly and Helmut Marko said at the time that he expected the young Dutchman to go on to lead the team.
De Vries has yet to score a point and according to motorsport.com has been given an ultimatum. He has three back-to-back races coming up to improve or he is at risk of being replaced.
He had to show an improvement in performance at the next three race weekends in Imola, Monaco, and Barcelona. Otherwise, he could lose his place as a pilot at AlphaTauri.
Red Bull reserve Ricciardo would be available as an experienced backup.
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Autosport also describes the veteran as an “obvious candidate” for de Vries’ cockpit, should it become vacant.
But ESPN now clearly contradicts these reports. According to sources, Ricciardo is not a candidate at AlphaTauri. There has never been any talk of such a scenario in the team management.
Alpha Tauri’s boss Franz Tost denies Ricciardo’s rumor, saying:
It’s as I always say [it’s] the learning process and the ‘crash period’ because if the drivers don’t crash, they don’t know the limit. This is a credit you must give them, otherwise, it doesn’t work.
“There was no driver not crashing. I remember back to Sebastian, maybe in the first races came back in the first lap, most often without the front nose. It’s part of the game.”
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De Vries earned his shot in F1 after substituting for Alex Albon in Monza last year when the Williams driver was rushed into hospital for an emergency appendectomy.
Alpha Tauri has sought to shut down rumors of Ricciardo’s impending replacement of De Vries. They state that “no conversations have taken place” between the two parties.
Instead, Liam Lawson is considered by some to have the best chance of replacing de Vries should he lose his cockpit.
The 21-year-old New Zealander is part of the Red Bull Racing development program. He is currently competing in the Japanese Super Formula series but has also had a taste of Formula 1 in the AlphaTauri and the Red Bull in 2021 and 2022.
This is bad news for Mick Schumacher: The 24-year-old son of F1 icon Michael Schumacher was recently mentioned by RTL reporter Felix Görner in his sport.de column as a possible replacement for de Vries.