Schumacher was dropped by Haas at the end of 2022, leaving him without a drive for this season.
Mercedes picked him up as their third driver for F1 2023, acting as the team’s reserve and simulator driver for the campaign.
The German has been credited for a number of turnarounds mid-weekend Mercedes have enjoyed this season, indicating that he’s playing a crucial role back at Mercedes’ factory in Brackley.
Schumacher did get a taste of the current Mercedes W14 on next year’s tyres in a Pirelli test in June, completing over 150 laps in the process.
In terms of an F1 return. Schumacher has been linked with a potential comeback with Williams in place of the struggling Logan Sargeant.
Opportunities have dried up elsewhere with the rest of the driver market remaining stagnant.
Bayer – who recently joined AlphaTauri as their CEO – believes Schumacher needs more on-track outings to prove he’s good enough to make a return to F1.
“That’s where his challenge lies. How can he prove he is fast?” he said as quoted by GPBlog.
“If Toto doesn’t put him in the car once, it will be difficult for Mick.”
Ricciardo’s impressive pace during a test following the British Grand Prix was a decisive factor in the decision.
“If Daniel had not driven such [good] times at Silverstone, he would not be in the car with us now,” Bayer added.