While the ex-Formula 2 champion has expressed hope of securing an F1 drive for 2024, Bayer asserts that Schumacher would require more runs to prove his credentials.
“That’s where his challenge lies. How can he prove he is fast?” Bayer said as per GPBlog.
“If Toto [Wolff] doesn’t put him in the car once, it will be difficult for Mick.”
The sporting regulations necessitate that each of the 10 teams must run a driver with under three F1 starts to their name in two practice sessions throughout the year.
Having already amassed 43 grand prix starts, Schumacher is ineligible to deputise for either Lewis Hamilton or George Russell during the second half of 2023.
Nevertheless, Bayer insists that even fulfilling more testing duties would enable Schumacher to place himself in the frame, citing how Daniel Ricciardo’s run in the Red Bull RB19 at Silverstone convinced the side to place him at AlphaTauri for the remainder of the year in place of Nyck de Vries.
“If Daniel had not driven such [good] times at Silverstone, he would not be in the car with us now,” Bayer conceded.
Aside from fulfilling a reserve role at Mercedes, McLaren will also be able to call on Schumacher’s services should either of its two drivers be unable to race.
The agreement comes courtesy of the Woking squad’s engine arrangement with Mercedes, with Schumacher testing McLaren’s MCL35M car at the Portimao circuit last month.
Options for an F1 comeback in 2024 appear thin on the ground for the 24-year-old, but he has been linked with a switch to Williams if Logan Sargeant fails to earn a deal.
Sargeant has struggled in his rookie campaign, failing to beat team-mate Alex Albon in a competitive session and being the only remaining full-time driver yet to score.
Previously, Schumacher had reportedly been under consideration for a possible place at Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri.
The Faenza camp’s outgoing Team Principal Franz Tost admitted he was interested in acquiring Schumacher to replace the departing Pierre Gasly.
However, the Austrian chief’s suggestion was rebuffed by Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, who opted to sign de Vries to partner Tsunoda for 2023.