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Mick Schumacher: Mercedes move a 'win-win', says his uncle Ralf as ex-Haas driver gets fresh F1 chance

Mick Schumacher will deputise for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell next year after losing his Haas seat and his ties with Ferrari; Sky Sports in Germany pundit Ralf Schumacher, Mick's uncle who drove in 180 races, has his say on the move

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Mick Schumacher speaks after his move to Mercedes as reserve driver for 2023 after losing his seat at Haas

Mick Schumacher's move to Mercedes is a "win-win for both sides" according to Ralf Schumacher, who believes his nephew can enhance his Formula 1 reputation while serving as back-up to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in 2023.

Schumacher, having lost his Haas seat after two years on the grid as well as his ties with Ferrari, was snapped up by Mercedes as a reserve driver last week, reuniting two of motorsport's biggest names.

Mick's father Michael, the seven-time world champion, drove for Mercedes to end his career (2010-12).

The 24-year-old's uncle Ralf, a famous and successful F1 Schumacher himself, has praised the deal, which sees Mick replace Nyck de Vries.

"I think it's a win-win situation for both sides," Ralf Schumacher, who drove in 180 F1 races, said on Sky Sports in Germany.

Image: Ralf Schumacher (left) with his nephew Mick

"One, for the team they have a great driver, if they need a replacement short term, if one of the drivers for some reason can not drive.

"And the next is of course that he is now in the team where he can learn a lot, first of all through a new structure, a big structure."

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Ralf had previously been critical of how Haas handled his nephew's exit, saying their conduct was "not normal" and that team boss Guenther Steiner was a "self-promoting person" who didn't "get along with the fact someone else is the focus".

"For me, I think it's a great opportunity," he added of Mick joining Mercedes. "Because he now has an experienced team, with two experienced team-mates, and above all, for a change, a team that is happy that he is there."

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Nico Hulkenberg says he is fresh and hungry as he prepares to make a full-time return to F1 for the first time since 2019 after replacing Mick Schumacher at Haas for the 2023 season

What will Schumacher's role be in 2023 and what next?

Mick Schumacher will take an active role in Mercedes' pre and in-season development of their W14 car next year, while - present at race weekends - he may get a chance to test and drive it.

Ralf believes he could be valuable not just for Mercedes, but the Mercedes-powered Aston Martin and Williams, too.

"I think that's also the strength that Mick can have, to step in there and step on the gas.

"However, please do not only think of Mercedes, there's nothing wrong with that, but at some point there could be a problem for Mercedes-operated teams and then they could turn to someone who is fresh from the the season and knows all the tracks and knows all the handling with the cars."

Speaking of Schumacher's future, Ralf mooted Audi - who will compete in F1 as a works team from 2025 - as an option.

"He has the opportunity to develop further," he said. "He deserves and belongs a chance - actually of driving a car - but at least as a replacement for test drivers and as a third driver.

"I think that's a great thing, but I could also imagine that Audi [could be interested] since there aren't really any German drivers on the market.

"But that's still a long way off from that point of view. I think where it is now it's in perfect hands and the rest will tell. The nice thing is that from the age of 24 I think he will have a great chance again, no matter where."

Wolff: Mick a victim of 'brutal' F1

Image: Mick Schumacher signs his Mercedes contract with team boss Toto Wolff

Speaking before the deal was announced, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff hailed Mick's character and felt he had been a victim of a "brutal" sport.

"I really like Mick and I like the family - how they have raised their kids with this unbelievably famous name - and I think he deserves a chance," Wolff said on F1's Beyond the Grid podcast. "He won the junior series and that is not easy.

"Things can go against you in your first years in Formula 1. He was under pressure to deliver and that doesn't help, and Formula 1 is brutal.

"So maybe, in a way, having a year off as a third driver - similar to what Daniel [Ricciardo is doing at Red Bull] - can be good to reassess yourself and bring yourself in a better place and then hopefully find a seat again.

"He always impressed me with his personality."

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