Schumacher wrecks Haas with crash after practice at Japanese GP as F1 hopes fade

Mick Schumacher’s hopes of retaining his Haas seat suffered another setback when he crashed in bizarre fashion at the end of a practice session at the Japanese Grand Prix.

In wet conditions as F1 returned to Suzuka for the first time since 2019, backmarkers Haas had enjoyed an encouraging first session, with Kevin Magnussen fifth and Schumacher seventh.

The chequered flag had been thrown to mark the end of the session and the cars were making their way back to the grid to do practice starts or to return to the pits.

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However, Schumacher never made it as he suffered a high-speed crash on what should have been a cool-down lap, spinning and slamming into the barriers at high speed, wrecking the front of his car and damaging his floor and chassis.

As a result, Schumacher was ruled out of the second practice session as Haas started rebuilding his car ahead of Saturday’s running. The lack of running will rob the German of both confidence and preparation time ahead of a crucial race as he fights to save his F1 career.

The former Formula 2 champion has endured a difficult second season at the sport’s top table, suffering several heavy crashes in the first half of the campaign. While there have been flashes of strong pace, the son of seven-time world champion Michael has lacked consistency.

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Former Renault, Williams, and Aston Martin race driver Nico Hulkenberg is thought to be the leading contender to take Schumacher’s place. Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi has also been linked, as has sacked McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo, although the Australian looks more likely to take a third driver role at either Mercedes or Red Bull.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso led the way in the opening practice session, with the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc next up. The other Alpine of Esteban Ocon was fourth.

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