Assuming Logan Sargeant gets the points he needs to qualify for an FIA superlicence and make his F1 debut with Williams next season, there is only one spot left to fill in the F1 2023 driver line-up - at Haas. 

With Daniel Ricciardo out of the picture after declaring he won’t be racing in 2023, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has confirmed there are just two contenders in the frame for the second seat alongside Kevin Magnussen; current incumbent Schumacher, and F1 veteran Hulkenberg. 

Mick Schumacher's F1 future - STAY or GO?

Schumacher, the son of legendary seven-time world champion Michael, is in his second F1 season and has endured a mixed sophomore campaign. 

After easily outclassing fellow rookie teammate Nikita Mazepin in 2021, Schumacher made a slow start to 2022 as he struggled to match the performances of the returning Magnussen. 

The 23-year-old found himself under pressure following a spate of expensive crashes early in the season but his form has notably improved in the second half of the year. 

Schumacher scored back-to-back points finishes at Silverstone and Austria, and although Haas’ competitiveness has tailed off as the season has gone on, he has been much more closely-matched with Magnussen. 

However, Haas are weighing up whether the more experienced Hulkenberg would be a better fit for the team in the medium-to-long term, with team owner Gene Haas recently voicing his concerns about Schumacher. 

Can Schumacher be the leader Haas need? 

There are still question marks surrounding Schumacher’s consistency and leadership qualities, something the American team is seeking in their quest to move further up the grid in the coming years. 

It is also worth noting that Schumacher was a Ferrari junior driver when he got his Haas drive after his title-winning F2 campaign, but the German’s relationship with Ferrari is set to conclude at the end of the year. 

Could the reported cutting of ties between Schumacher and Haas’ engine provider and technical partner have a bearing on the team’s driver line-up decision? 

Despite facing some criticism, Schumacher’s work ethic, as well as his rate of improvement, has impressed Haas. Schumacher has had backing from teammate Magnussen, who said he “definitely deserves” to keep his spot on the F1 grid in 2023. 

But could Hulkenberg’s greater experience, with 181 F1 race starts to his name, be the deciding factor? 

"Mick has got some experience, obviously it's his second year in Formula 1," Steiner said. 

"But is that enough to take the team forward? We need leadership from this position. And these are all the things I evaluate, that's the most important thing. How can we take the team forward?

"I need to look after the whole team and see if Mick is the chosen one.

"We need to look after our team for the future and then we will take the driver we want in the car and we think we can go forward with developing the team. 

"So if it is Mick, it is Mick, and if it's somebody else, it's somebody else.”

Magnussen has ‘no problem’ with Hulkenberg 

Should Hulkenberg get the nod over Schumacher, it would create an interesting dynamic at Haas, given the history between Hulkenberg and Magnussen. 

An on-track skirmish led to their infamous confrontation at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix, when Magnussen told Hulkenberg to “suck my balls” after Hulkenberg interrupted an interview Magnussen was conducting to tell the Dane he was “once again the most unsporting driver on the grid”.  

However, the pair have since moved on from their clash and any lingering tension appears unlikely, with Magnussen insisting he would have no problem teaming up with Hulkenberg. 

“I think I've said many times now, that I don't have a problem with Nico at all,” Magnussen said at the Mexico City Grand Prix.  

“Actually I respect him as a racing driver. I don't really know him as a person. But certainly as a racing driver, I've always respected him. So I would have no problem.

"But I don't have an opinion on whether or not he should be in the second car. Mick is doing a good job at the moment. He had some issues in the beginning of the year and a few crashes but he is certainly faster now.”

With Haas hoping to make their decision before the end of the season, we shouldn’t have to wait much longer to find out whether Schumacher will retain his seat for 2023, or become a casualty of a highly volatile driver market.