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HomeMotorsportsBruno Famin (Alpine): Mick Schumacher underestimated in Formula 1

Bruno Famin (Alpine): Mick Schumacher underestimated in Formula 1

Mick Schumacher will contest the 2024 WEC in the Alpine A424 in the hypercar class – Why Alpine opted for the lateral entrant from Formula 1

The signing of Michael Schumacher’s son Mick for the 2024 World Endurance Championship (WEC) is a coup for Alpine. For the first time since Nick Heidfeld in 2016, a German Formula 1 driver will be competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – apart from Andre Lotterer’s one-off outing with Caterham at Spa in 2014. The choice was easy, the team assures

“It was not a process on an industrial scale. It’s a very human and manual process. That’s how we work,” Bruno Famin, Head of Alpine Motorsport, told Daily Sportscar. “When you have the opportunity to have Mick Schumacher in the team, of course you work on it.”

“We could have organized a test with three, four, five or ten drivers. But then we would have had another driver who knows the track and the tires better and so on. That’s why we prefer to work with drivers that we know in some way. “

What Schumacher has to offer

Of course, Famin and Schumacher have crossed paths more than once in the Formula 1 paddock. But how did they come to sign a driver who is the only one of the blue sextet with no experience in endurance racing?

“What he can bring to the team is his experience at the highest level of competition,” says Famin. “Endurance racing is developing into a very demanding discipline because we have so many manufacturers with very high-caliber teams and engineers.”

And then, of course, there is the Balance of Performance (BoP), which means that the driver makes a much bigger difference than in the past, when the individual cars were only separated by seconds per lap. The drivers are becoming increasingly important

“It’s not just about fast drivers, but also about drivers who take care of the tires and the car for one, two or three stints for their teammates, who are willing to make compromises to ensure the best performance of all three drivers,” the Frenchman continued.

“Mick brings his experience at a very high level. He is still a reserve driver at Mercedes and has a lot of experience in a Formula 1 team that works at the highest level. He has completed two full seasons at Haas and will bring some ideas and methods that will help us to raise the bar – and that’s exactly what we want. I think he’s a very, very smart guy. “

Restraint explained after Jerez test

Famin is convinced that Schumacher’s achievements in Formula 1, where he only finished in the points twice in 44 starts, are underestimated: “I think he’s a very good driver, a very fast driver. You mustn’t forget that he was Formula 2 and Formula 3 champion. He has a lot of skills. I don’t see why we should have missed out on this opportunity.”

After the Jerez test, the Renault Group played down a possible collaboration. How did the one-off thing turn into a permanent commitment? “It wasn’t really a one-off. The test was done for him to get to know this type of car, because he’s only driven monopostos in his career so far.”

“Of course we talked about the possibility of working together, but he was very curious to drive the car to see how an endurance team works. He came to Jerez to get to know the world of endurance racing, having previously only known the world of monopostos. He should make up his own mind whether he wants to drive or not. “

Openly, he has opted for a commitment that could end at any time should one of the Mercedes drivers George Russell or Lewis Hamilton drop out of Formula 1: “The contract is clear, the agreement with Mick is clear. If he gets the chance to drive in Formula 1 to replace George or Lewis, then he will drive in Formula 1.”

Alpine has not yet announced its own replacement driver for this eventuality, but Famin is not worried: “We will quickly find a replacement driver from the Alpine Endurance family if we need one.” The other Alpine WEC regular drivers are Ferdinand Habsburg, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere, Charles Milesi and Paul-Loup Chatin.

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