At just 20 years old, Mick Schumacher will drive a Formula 1 Ferrari next week during tests, 15 years after the last world title won by his father Michael at the wheel of a red racing car.
“I am more than happy,” said the young German driver, quoted in a statement. These tests are a “great experience”, added the promising driver, who has not yet driven a modern Formula 1.
He will do it aboard this season’s official Ferrari during private tests to be held in Bahrain on April 2, and the next day he will drive an Alfa Romeo, powered by Ferrari, the two teams announced on Tuesday.
Mick, born on March 22, 1999, will have made his Formula 2 debut, the prelude to Formula 1, the weekend before, also in Bahrain.
Since this year he has been a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, the Scuderia’s school for young drivers, which also powers the Alfa Romeo Racing (ex Sauber) team.
He already drove a Formula 1 racing car in 2017, an old car owned by his father.
– Symbol –
Although a day of rehearsals is not enough to guarantee a contract, the return of a Schumacher to Ferrari is a symbol.
His father won five of his seven F1 world titles with the Scuderia (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004).
The victim of a skiing accident following his retirement from competition in 2013, he seriously injured his head and has not been seen in public since.
His last name is associated with the Scuderia’s triumph in F1.
With six constructors’ titles between 1999 and 2004 thanks to his victories, the ‘Red Baron’ is one of the idols of the Tifosi and even today flags with his name can be seen at the Grand Prix.
But Mercedes has dominated the World Cup since 2014 and Ferrari often has to be content with second place.
The Scuderia has its current drivers, Sebastian Vettel, 31 years old, and Charles Leclerc, 21 years old, to regain number 1. The German, four-time world champion when he was at Red Bull, has a contract until 2020, and the young Monegasque until 2022.
But the F1 team continues its search for talents who can be world champions in the future.
– Make a name for yourself –
Mick excelled in 2015 in the F4 championship, and last year he conquered the F3 championship thanks to an exceptional season finale with 8 wins and 3 second places in the last 18 races.
Along with Mick, the British Callum Ilott, also 20 years old, will test.
“We are very happy to be able to give Mick and Callum the opportunity to drive an F1 car,” said Ferrari team skipper Mattia Binotto on Tuesday. “They are pilots in an upward line” and the “tests in Bahrain and Barcelona can be very useful at this point in their careers,” he valued.
But Mick will have to cope with the weight of his last name, a role that he acknowledges is sometimes “quite difficult.”
Luckily “he has a very balanced family and he has already experienced this with Michael, so they will know how to assimilate it if Mick is successful,” says Ross Brawn, F1 sporting director.
Other children of illustrious people demonstrated that it is possible to succeed their parents as world champions: Damon Hill (1996) to his father Graham (1962 and 1968) and Nico Rosberg (2016) to ‘Keke’ (1982). AFP