Mick Schumacher: ‘I feel ready’ for move to Formula 1
Son of seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher is wrapping up his first season in F2
On the Wednesday before the Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari fans assembled in the Piazza Duomo in Milan to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the team’s founding.
One of the biggest cheers came when 20-year-old Mick Schumacher walked on stage. Fans cheered the name, the memories of Mick’s father Michael and Ferrari’s glory years. They want the team to be great again, and Mick just might be their next hope.
Mick is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy; in April, he completed Formula 1 tests in Bahrain for Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. In Hockenheim, he drove a Ferrari F2004—the type of car his father won his seventh, and last, F1 title in 15 years ago.
And then came Milan.
“It was a strange feeling,” Mick said. “Obviously I had never experienced something like that before. That was just a little bit of what my dad experienced. It was hard for me to imagine how it must have been for him, but it was nice. You really feel the vibe and the support of the people.”
Expectations weigh heavily on Mick’s shoulders. It’s the same in Germany, where interest in Formula 1 is a pale shadow of what it used to be when Michael was still driving. He was special, in part because he was the hero the country needed in the unsettling years after its reunification. Michael was a social phenomenon as much as a racing driver.
When Mick started racing karts in 2008, he used the name “Mick Betsch,” his mom Corinna’s maiden name. Later he used “Mick Junior,” but he eventually took the family name and lived with the wild expectations. He knows that when all is said and done, he has to build his own career based on ability and results. His path to the top has been eased with access to the best teams and no worries about funding, but one cannot deny that Schumacher has earned his spurs by winning the Formula 3 European Championship in 2018.
Now in Formula 2, he is clearly thinking about F1.
“Sure, I think about it,” he says. “That’s my dream. It’s where I want to go, and that’s where I want to basically live my life.”
Does he feel he is prepared for Formula 1?
“I feel ready,” he says. “If you arrive into Formula 2, most of the people here would say that they are ready. Obviously a year in F2 where you learn a lot about tires and stuff helps you for F1, but that doesn’t mean that you will automatically do a good job because there are a lot of different things in F1 that affect your position.”
So is a second year in F2 a better option?
“I guess that if you get the chance, you take it,” he says. “Maybe it makes more sense to stay another year in Formula 2 and do a good job, but that doesn’t mean that there will be any seats in F1 open, and you could be sitting there with nothing to drive. It is a bit like the sport choosing you rather you choosing the sport. If the chance comes, I will take it. Right now, I’m thinking about F2. We’re here, and that is what I focus on, but I dream about F1.”
So what do people in F1 think about him?
“I think Mick is showing a real good performance,” says Franz Tost, team boss of Scuderia Toro Rosso. “Last year he won the Formula 3 European Championship. This year is the first year in Formula 2. He showed some very good races. In some other races, he was involved in incidents, but it is a learning year. I expect that he will do another Formula 2 year, but I’m convinced that he will make his way into Formula 1.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff agrees.
“He is a great young man with a fantastic character and personality,” he says. “A big name sometimes can have a negative impact in Formula 1 because you are being put under pressure, and he copes extremely well with that. Now we need to give him time to properly develop as a young man and as a racing driver. I have no doubt that we will see him in Formula 1.”
At the end of last year, Fernando Alonso was asked about Mick and gave a very wise reply.
“He has a great talent, and he will be good for the sport, to have the Schumacher name again in F1,” he said. “Let’s see what the future brings, not putting extra pressure on him. I’m sure he has enough already.
“Let time decide.”