The most poisoned chalice in sport? Mick Schumacher has the unenviable task of following in his father’s footsteps… but with a promotion to F1 on the horizon, has he REALLY got what it takes to succeed?
- There are big expectations that Mick Schumacher can emulate his father in F1
- The 21-year-old has impressed in Formula 2 and could be elevated next season
- His father won seven world championship titles and is a legend in the sport
Following the footsteps of a father in sport is often more of a curse than it is a blessing. Expectations rocket before the son has even been able to cut their teeth.
In football there has been Peter and Kasper Schmeichel. Basketball has Doc and Austin Rivers. Cricket had Ian and Liam Botham. Some successions work brilliantly, others see the son never emerge from their father’s shadow.
And in sporting father-son terms, there is no shadow greater and no expectation bigger than that on Michael Schumacher’s son, Mick.
Mick Schumacher (left) is determined to follow in the footsteps of father Michael (right) in F1
Schumacher Jnr drove his dad’s old Ferrari F2004 before the Tuscan Grand Prix last weekend
Where one man points to a silver spoon, another sees a poisoned chalice for the soft-spoken young Schumacher.
The 21-year-old German currently leads the Formula 2 championship in his second year at the sport’s reserve level.
And Schumacher is in line to be promoted to F1 next year with a seat at either Alfa Romeo or Haas mooted to be his.
But ultimately, Schumacher Jnr wants Ferrari. He wants to be back in Maranello to follow the lead of his father.
Mick Schumacher is emerging as a real star and currently leads the Formula 2 championship
His raw talent is immense and he does not appear burdened by the added expectations on him
‘It’s to do with history,’ Schumacher told Autosport when asked how he feels in Italy.
‘I feel drawn to here, I grew up here and with the exception of one season – Van Amersfoort in Formula 4 – I’ve driven for Italian teams. In karting I drove for Tony Kart, and with Prema I’m with an Italian team.
‘The passion [Italians] have for motorsport is wonderful, and it is equally discernible at Ferrari. It’s special to be in Maranello.’
Mick is fiercely private, much like his father was, and has had to mature quickly having been with his father seven years ago during his tragic skiing accident.
Michael suffered a near-fatal brain injury in December 2013 when he fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing off-piste in the French Alps.
He was placed in a medically-induced coma, which he is now out of, but following the skiing accident which left him battling for his life, his condition has been kept a closely guarded secret from those outside his Lake Geneva mansion.
Schumacher (left) is in line for a promotion to Formula One next season with seats available
Michael Schumacher suffered a horrific skiing accident on the French Alps in December 2013
The Schumacher name is perhaps the most famous in motorsport history, certainly no peer of Mick will be expected to succeed as fast as he will be.
He is very guarded and rarely opens up to the media. He lives close to Geneva with dad Michael and mum Corinna.
If Mick is promoted to F1 next season, becoming the latest young hotshot on a grid that becomes younger and younger, he will find himself with some incredible targets if he wants to emulate – and surpass – his father.
Seven world titles, 91 race victories and 68 pole positions is the stat line that Schumacher Snr finished with by the time he called time on his career.
Ross Brawn, now managing director of F1, was once Michael’s mentor at Ferrari. Still involved in the sport and blessed to see the emergence of Mick, there is a growing sense he is witnessing a chip off the old block.
Brawn wrote in his recent F1 column: ‘It was wonderful to see a car close to my heart – the Ferrari F2004 – get another outing in the hands of Mick Schumacher on Sunday.
Ross Brawn (right), who was a mentor to Michael (left), believes Mick will be in F1 soon enough
‘Michael was a force of nature in that car, winning his seventh world title, and it seems Mick really enjoyed his latest demonstration run in it. Mick himself is driving superbly at the moment in Formula 2, and is leading the championship after another solid weekend in Mugello. Keep it up and he’ll surely be on the F1 grid soon.’
When asked if he ever thought about taking a different road, one less travelled by his dad to carve out his own name in the world, he insisted there is no need for a Plan B when Plan A works so well for his family.
‘I discussed this with a friend, and we decided to each choose a make-believe job that did not involve engines,’ he told Autosport.
‘I simply could not find one. Everything had to do with engines, and always will. Plan B? Plan A works fine for me.’
If it was ever in doubt, Mick’s rise is proof it really is like father, like son.
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