Mick Schumacher doesn’t feel daunted to be the son of the ‘greatest F1 driver’ Michael, even though it is ‘difficult’ being that.
The pressure Mick carries on his shoulder is no doubt extreme, especially with the condition Michael is in – it only adds to the challenge as his mindset has to remain on racing and not dwell on his father’s health ailment everytime.
It was a slow start for the younger German in the FIA European F3 Championship in 2017 after missing out on the F4 titles in the previous year. It looked difficult at one stage in 2018 as well, but Schumacher rose to the occasion and fought back to win the title.
Before going into his F3 season, speaking about his personal situation, being the son of the seven-time F1 champion, Suchmacher Jr takes it professionally and remains unfazed with the pressure even though he admits it is difficult thing to do.
“I am happy to be the son of the greatest F1 racer of all time,” said Schumacher in an interview on FIA’s Auto magazine. “I’m happy that he is the greatest F1 racer of all time, and I admire him for that.
“And even if sometimes it can be a bit difficult, it is what it is. There are good sides to it and there are bad sides. Having the support I have from a lot of people all over the world can’t be a bad thing. I am thankful for that.
“Everybody has to find out himself, what’s best for him [and] we always said that we wanted to take time for me to develop as a racing driver in the best possible way, and we were good in doing it the way we did,” he added, on his cautious approach.
When asked about his decision to take up racing coming naturally to him, he said: “Racing and karting is quite a normal thing in my family and I always loved to go karting with my father. It was big fun sharing that with him.
“And I remember him asking one day if this would be a hobby for me or if I wanted to do it as a professional. I told him straightaway I wanted to do it professionally. I never wanted to anything else.”
In terms of the F1 connections, Schumacher Jr drove his dad’s Benetton B194 at Spa-Francorchamps last year and has joined the Ferrari Driver Academy this year as the Schumacher name returns to Maranello again after the 2006 season.
In fact, when he was announced as the new FDA member, Schumacher was competing at the Race of Champions with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in the team event. Elsewhere, the German is preparing to race for Prema in the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship.
Coming back on his title-winning European F3 season, Schumacher feels the performance was always there in the second season, it just need to come together which it first did at Spa-Francorchamps and then in Nurburgring which changed the title equation in his favour.
“It [turnaround] started in Spa and then in Nurburgring, where I won all three races, it was clear that the title was in reach,” he said. “In hindsight it may sound strange, but throughout the season I never thought the title was out of sight.
“I was always convinced that it was still possible to win it. We had the pace, but there always seemed to be something that didn’t go right, but I firmly believed we would sort that out.” The German admitted that it took him time to digest the victory.
“Indeed it took me some time to digest it, to understand what has happened,” he said. “It was such a big sensation to cross the finish line and finally have done it, to have achieved what we working so hard for.
“I am still not sure I have understood the long-term meaning of that title, but I know one thing: it is a very good feeling.” Elaborating on the work he and the team did to fight back in the season – which raised some questions as well, he said:
“I see from people’s reaction that it is hard to understand and it’s also hard to explain, but really I think it was the outcome of a lot of hardwork since before the season and also during the first season of F3.
“Going into 2018, the pace was really good and pre-season testing had gone well, and I was three-tenths ahead in the practice session in the first race. So, we were there already and we kind of knew it.
“But then in qualifying the suspension broke and it did not go well – and neither did the rest of the weekend. To be honest, I found myself in a bit of hole after that and it took a lot of hard work to get back on track.
“It really was working among ourselves, trying to find every little thing we could do better, believing in ourselves and developing a better routine. And then in qualifying at Spa, everything we had defined as being important worked out and there it was.”