Overtake Motorsport Presents Another Edition Of Roar From The Paddock. In This Edition, Feature Writer Specialist Aaron Gillard Discusses The Arrival Of Mick Schumacher In Formula 2 And Whether It Is Media Hype Or Media Love With His First Test With Ferrari
Whenever you think of the Schumacher name, it’s hard not to think about one man: Michael Schumacher.
Michael’s history and achievements in Formula 1 is historical and forged himself as one of the greatest sportsman in the world. His records speak for itself: 7 world titles, 91 race wins, 155 podiums.
He revived Ferrari as a dominant super team during the late 90’s and early 2000’s, as well as sparking the interest of the sport within Germany. Michael to many drivers, is an idol. He is their hero.
But to one driver, he is more than just a driver. He’s more than just an idol. He’s his father as well.
His name is Mick Schumacher.
Mick is one of two children from Michael and his wife Corrina. Born in 1999, Mick was destined early on to follow his fathers’ footsteps as a successful racing driver. Throughout his junior career, the media kept an eye on him on his progress, hoping that he can make it into the realms of F1.
After winning the 2018 FIA European Formula 3 championship against British driver Dan Ticktum, Schumacher was on the move and looking to make the leap towards Formula 1. He did so with two deals for the 2019 season.
His first was joining Prema Racing for the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship. The Italian team has been with Schumacher throughout his junior career, being the team in German Formula 4, Italian Formula 4 and Formula 3. Another year with Prema was the wise choice as he would be reunited with some of his old mechanics and an environment he knows very well.
The second one was probably the biggest news though. Him joining the Ferrari Drivers’ Academy. This news spread around and even those who didn’t cover Motorsport, was covering it. Why? Because it was a familiar name back in Ferrari’s doorstep.
This was something that was destined for some. To see the son of the greatest Ferrari driver, heck even the greatest driver in all of Motorsport join the same team his father was successful in was really special. The emotions thinking about Michael in the Scarlet Red Ferrari and now see his son driving the same machinery. Wow. That makes me feel old.
The media attention surrounding Mick has been wildly followed throughout his career, often being compared to his father. But for Mick, at least he has shown he has talent and skills in his driving.
But the question over the attention he has been receiving from the media has been one thing. Is he getting it because he is the son of Michael Schumacher, therefore we need to make a hype train over it?
Or is it because it’s a special feeling to see the son of Michael Schumacher progress and be close to racing in the same sport that his father was so successful in?
It’s really a mixture of both.
Ahead of his F2 debut in Bahrain, Schumacher received a lot of media attention on the Thursday during the media day of the new season. Mick in particular was receiving a lot of interest. When I mean, a lot. I mean a lot.
This is unnatural for F2. Nobody in the series has received this much attention over a debut weekend before. It was also the first time since Michael’s retirement at the end of 2012 we last saw a Schumacher race within the F1 paddock.
The media often focus a driver and ‘overhype’ their talent because of one great race or a few good ones. But with Schumacher, it is a little bit different. Yes, he won the F3 title in 2018 with some superb drives and he has the talent, but most of the coverage largely because of the name. The combination of talent and the surname, creates a special romance, which in a way is good for F1 to have and for the media to cover.
Whilst the extra attention often creates extra pressure on the driver, Schumacher insisted that he doesn’t feel pressure from it, and it showed in his F2 debut weekend.
Mick qualified the feature race in tenth and did a good job throughout the first race to stay within the points paying positions. At the end of the race, Mick on the quicker tyres was able to close on eighth place Nobuharu Matsushita. The German was five seconds faster than the Carlin driver, eventually passing him on the last lap to claim eighth and pole position for the sprint race.
This alone created a lot of attention. A Schumacher on pole. The media was having a field day with this, even to the point where they would include him in the headline alongside the race winner.
Not that it’s a problem, but this case rarely happens to anyone else. But since this is Schumacher, the name is so recognisable to people who might not follow Motorsport may click on the story to find out how he is getting on, as well as reading about the race.
In the sprint race, Schumacher didn’t hold onto the lead for long but he was able to stay in the top eight, finishing sixth in the race. He rounded off his debut weekend with eight points, enough to place him eighth overall in the standings.
For a rookie, that is a good job. He wasn’t the best rookie overall in F2 as Anthoine Hubert and Guanyu Zhou had brilliant weekends, nearly capturing a podium finish.
For Mick though, this was a great start to what would be a special few days – test driving a modern-day Ferrari F1 car.
As part of his duties in the Ferrari Drivers’ Academy, Schumacher has been granted test days with both Ferrari and Alfa Romeo Racing. And on Tuesday, he got his first ever shot in an F1 car.
He did a good job for his outing despite an unexpected rain delay in Bahrain, completing 53 laps and sitting second on the time sheets, only beaten by Max Verstappen.
A Verstappen and a Schumacher on track together. Gives throwbacks to 1994. Let’s not forget Fernando Alonso’s return to the track too. Last time we saw an Alonso, a Verstappen and a Schumacher together was in 2003. Some throwback.
Schumacher did a good job in his first weekend in the F1 paddock with F2 and his test with Ferrari. He will test with Alfa Romeo on Wednesday before he has a short break until the next round of F2 in Baku.
The coverage and media attention Mick is getting creates a huge profile for himself and the Schumacher name. It has been a while since we’ve seen a Schumacher hit the F1 scene, so of course the attention will be focused on him.
Let’s not forget that older fans can relate to the younger generation who may have never seen Michael race, but will get to see Mick race.
To see a Schumacher back in F1 would be really emotional and I’m sure everyone in the Schumacher camp will be proud of Mick. After what has happened to Michael in recent years and his recovery, this is certainly a positive news to have out there.
I was never a Michael fan, I’ll admit. But I respected his achievements and domination because later in life, I realised I witnessed history and that should be applauded for.
I hope we will see Mick Schumacher become a Ferrari driver. I think it would create a great story for the media to tell and a wonderful ‘feel good’ factor for the sport to have an iconic name back in the sport. Will he be as successful as his father? Time will tell.