Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto sees similarities in how Mick Schumacher behaves trackside and at the factory, which is same as his father, Michael.
Following his European F3 title win in 2018, Schumacher joined the Ferrari Driver Academy from 2019 onward as he competes in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Prema. As part of the deal, he also got his first taste of a F1 car in Bahrain.
He drove the Ferrari on Day 1 and took the Alfa Romeo Racing car on Day 2. The German finished second with Ferrari in a rain-disrupted run, while he was sixth overall with Alfa Romeo. All in all, it was a valuable two-day run for the youngster.
Talking about his performance and similarities to Michael, Binotto saw quite a lot of it, both trackside and at the factory – he is in a good position to judge, having worked with both. “The very first time I saw him after many years in Maranello, when he came back.
“If you looked at him, I don’t think he’s looking very similar to Michael but the way he’s behaving is very similar, and the way he’s approaches the exercise and the way he’s interested in the car, discussing it with the technicians.
“So even in Maranello, you are looking after him, but he’s always in the workshop looking at the car, speaking with the mechanics, and I think that’s very similar to his father. To assess the performance [in Bahrain test], I think it is very difficult.
“Because first, the weather conditions were very bad on that day and because at the end I think that the objective was not really to assess the performance. It was his very first day on an F1 car.
“It is more important for him still in the learning phase, day-by-day, is facing a completely new challenge in his F2 season. I think what was certainly positive was the way he approached the exercise, the approach to the day of testing.
“He was never pushing to the limit [straightaway], trying to improve run-by-run, learning the car, learning the team, and I think in that respect he did a very good job: very well focussed, concentrated and tried to do the proper job and learn,” Binotto summed up.
Schumacher started his F2 season on a good note in Bahrain with two points finishes to be eighth in the drivers’ standings. With the F1 run in his kitty, it only serves well for the future. It remains to be seen if the German gets a FP1 run but he has plenty of time still.