'Game Over' for Mick Schumacher? Nico Rosberg thinks so

Nico Rosberg believes Mick Schumacher has to return to the Formula 1 grid in 2024 or risk being cast into the doldrums of the sport.

Schumacher's future racing plans are undetermined after Haas made the decision to wave him farewell at the end of the 2022 campaign, although he has landed a reserve driver role with Mercedes for the 2023 season.

And while Rosberg, who was team-mate to Mick's father Michael Schumacher at Mercedes from 2010-12, does feel it was hard for Mick to shine in the Haas, he also believes that the 23-year-old showed a lack of consistency when it came to getting the best out of the machinery he had. This too was a criticism of Haas team boss Guenther Steiner.

Plus, when there was an opportunity, Rosberg felt it was Kevin Magnussen taking it, not Schumacher.

Speaking on Sport1's AvD Motor & Sport magazine, Rosberg said: "It was great to have Mick Schumacher on the grid and interesting to follow his performances in the premier class.

"Unfortunately, it was extremely difficult for him because he had the worst car in the field for long stretches. It's difficult to set highlights there.

"Nevertheless, you have to compare him with Kevin Magnussen. There was a lack of consistency, and Magnussen was always there in those moments when the car gave something away. Mick lacked these peaks. Unfortunately, there will now be a break in his GP career for the time being."

And how long this break lasts, according to Rosberg, will be key to whether we see Schumacher on the Formula 1 grid again.

Rosberg feels the recently confirmed reserve spot at Mercedes is a good next step in Schumacher's career, but if it did not lead to a place on the 2024 grid, then he does not see how Schumacher will make that return.

"Reserve driver at Mercedes, that's a good option to stay in F1 and keep the chances of coming back somewhere in 2024," said Rosberg.

"But Schumacher would also need a good sponsor to support him financially in his comeback to the grid. If nothing comes of it in 2024, then that would probably be the end with Formula 1."

That being said, Rosberg does not believe that a future without Formula 1 is necessarily a negative one for Schumacher, quite the opposite in fact.

DTM, Formula E and IndyCar are also series where Rosberg believes Schumacher could enjoy racing.

"There would be enough nice options left for him: DTM, Formula E, IndyCar," said Rosberg.

"These are great racing series where he could also have fun. They would be grateful to have a talent like Mick in the field."

To Rosberg's point, if Schumacher is not on the Formula 1 grid once more in 2024, then the cards really would need to fall perfectly for him to make a comeback. Fortunately, that very well could happen courtesy of Audi.

A deal has been struck for the German brand to partner up with Sauber from 2026, thus creating an Audi works team.

Audi's interest in making Schumacher a part of their line-up has been put on record for quite some time now, and even before 2026, if there is an opportunity at the team which will operate as Sauber in 2024 and 2025, then Audi would likely be pushing hard to get Schumacher through the door.

And Mercedes cannot be discounted as an option. Lewis Hamilton says he has another five years to go, but if he was to reduce that timescale, then Schumacher could be an appealing option for Mercedes to place alongside George Russell, who claimed the team's only pole position and grand prix victory of 2022.

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