Mick Schumacher is set to emerge from the shadows of his famous last name when he makes his Formula One debut on Sunday.
22-year-old Mick, the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher – one of motorsports largest figures – will take the next step in his racing journey when he drives for American team Haas at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. The German racer won the Formula Three European championship in 2018 and Formula Two last year.
“His arrival is already a boost for Formula One, his name is attracting a lot of attention, and the whole series is benefiting from it,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, according to AFP.
“He deserved this promotion. He has reached the level of a Formula One driver by his own strength, not because of his name... Now we have to give him time to grow, to learn... and to follow a normal progression curve,” he added.
However, it’s a double-edged sword for Mick himself.
“His name certainly opens doors for him, but it also puts a lot of pressure on him, without a doubt,” said Ross Brawn, Formula One’s managing director.
To hear it from Mick himself, entering the F1 world now is like coming full circle.
“Obviously, I’m super excited about the first race in Bahrain,” he said, according to Sky Sports.
“Thinking about it, it’s 30 years since my dad started his first race, and now I’m starting mine. The fact that I’m in Formula One and away to be racing – it feels so amazing
“I’m so happy that I’m finally there, finally able to race with everybody, and to show my potential working with a great team. I will learn and improve as a driver and as a human,” he added.
Mick is with the Ferrari academy – where his dad won five of his world championships.
Michael, now retired, suffered a severe brain injury in 2013 while skiing and was placed in a medically induced coma until June 2014. Later that year, he moved into private rehabilitation. Ever since, he has stayed out of the limelight and his condition has not been made public knowledge.
His son, however, is ready to follow in his footsteps. “One of those lessons [from my father] is to stay steady, never get too high, or too low,” he wrote in a moving letter last year.
“I realised fairly early on that I wanted to be a Formula 1 driver, a champion… I’d used different names to sort of race undercover, improve without too much of the notoriety of being ‘my father’s son,’” he admitted.
“But, honestly, I don’t feel any pressure to carry on the family name or do exactly what my father did. Most of the stress comes from what I put on myself, thinking about what I did wrong and how I can improve.
“People saw the magazines and ‘famous’ parts of my dad, which I totally understand.
“I get it. I mean, he ran off five straight Formula 1 championships the year after I was born, and it’s incredible, right? But I [never looked] at my dad only as the ‘world’s greatest driver’.
“He always, first and foremost, is my dad. I do not take the lessons he’s given me for granted," he wrote.