Mercedes could have Lewis Hamilton replacement lured away as Alpine ‘open talks’

Mercedes could be set to lose reserve driver and potential future Lewis Hamilton replacement Mick Schumacher with the young German being heavily linked with a switch to Alpine as part of their developing Le Mans program. Schumacher is the team’s reserve driver and is tipped to return to the F1 grid in 2024, but the Enstone team could be about to wreck their plans.

The French manufacturer launched their new Hypercar earlier this year and has been competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship as well as Formula 1. While Alpine’s current WEC efforts come in the LMP2 category, the team are preparing to enter the Hypercar class for 2024 and beyond.

According to reports from German weekly magazine Motorsport Aktuell, Schumacher is already in talks to become a part of that vision. The 24-year-old has touched base with interim team principal Brune Famin with the pair lining up a Hypercar test in the near future. 

This development falls in line with Ted Kravitz’s suggestion for the German. The Sky Sports F1 presenter had previously said: “If you’re a fan of Mick Schumacher, and let’s face it who isn’t, sadly it doesn’t look like Mick Schumacher is going to be back on the grid next year.

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“In which case, he’s gonna have to find a different series to race in, because you can’t have two years away from racing, that would just really hurt too much for him.”

Schumacher has been clear that his long-term hopes remain a full-time F1 return. The 24-year-old with the legendary surname spent two seasons on the grid with Haas, but struggled to demonstrate consistent pace as costly crashes led team principal Guenther Steiner to pull the trigger.

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Toto Wolff has been full of praise for his test and reserve driver this season and has attempted to use his influence to move Schumacher into Logan Sargeant’s seat at Williams for the 2024 campaign with little success.

The German driver saw another avenue close on Thursday, at least for the time being, as Alfa Romeo confirmed that Zhou Guanyu has signed a one-year contract extension to keep him with the team until the start of the 2025 campaign. 

With the AlphaTauri route ruled out by Helmut Marko and Sargeant heading towards another season with Williams, Alpine’s Le Mans project will offer Schumacher a valuable chance to get back in the cockpit and avoid a devastating second consecutive season away from the race track.

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