Driving his father’s championship-winning Ferrari was, of course, a highlight of his off the radar pre-season, “It was a dream come true for me to drive dad’s F2002. Also to drive this car here at Fiorano, my first time on this track. A very special day indeed.”
Junior was afforded the opportunity to drive a few laps in the legendary machine at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track prior to the car being shipped for auction by RM Sotheby’s alongside a selection of other legendary F1 machines on the eve of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 30 November.
Schumacher Sr. drove chassis #219 to three of his eleven 2002 Formula 1 victories, namely Imola, Austria and in France, en route to his fifth world title of seven and his third for Ferrari in 2002. Michael wrapped up the title with a record six grand prix still to race that year as Ferrari scored as many 2002 F1 points as all the other teams put together.
Nearly two decades on, his son has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the junior ranks, some say assisted by his legendary pedigree, but in reality, the youngster has nowhere to hide in the glare of the public eye and expectation. So a quiet season in Formula 2 has been a blessing in disguise as Mick delivered a solid, if unspectacular maiden second division season, but where to from here?
“Sure, Formula 1 is my dream — it’s where I want to go, and that’s where I want to live my life,” Mick explained in a recent interview.
“I feel ready — if you arrive in Formula 2, most of the people here would say that they are ready — a year in F2 teaches you a lot about the tyres and the rest and all that helps for Formula 1.
“Maybe it makes more sense to stay another year in Formula 2 and do a good job, but that does not mean that there will be any open seats in Formula 1 after that. “This sport chooses you — you do not choose it, but it the right chance comes, I will take it.
“Right now, I’m thinking about Formula 2 — we are here and it’s what I am focussed on, but yes, I do dream about Formula 1!”
The Formula 1 grid for 2020 is all but set, and young Schumacher already finds himself in the crosshairs of some heavy hitters, as Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer, a team famous for plucking up prime young talent, points out: “We have a few drivers in mind and we’re watching them in the junior categories, but everyone in the pit lane is watching what Mick Schumacher is doing with very great interest…”
So, with the already proven credentials of a FIA European Formula 3 title over the best drivers of his generation under his belt and an immaculate Formula 1 pedigree, all eyes are likely to be back in Mick Schumacher very soon — especially if his second year in Formula 2 is anything like it was in F3. (Report by Michele Lupini)