Unlike previous rounds, during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend races take place at dusk, with night running also on the programme.
Speaking after qualifying tenth on Friday, Mick said, “That was my first night-qualifying, although I have driven at Misano during the night in Formula 4 and did the post-season Formula 2 test days last year which were also partly driven in the dark. Still, it was a first, but then it seemed nearly like day to me with all the lights on.
“As for my Qualifying itself, it did not work out too well for various reasons and, in the end, we had to settle for P10. I was really hoping for more.”
Mick started the Feature race, on Saturday evening, with the soft option rubber tyres bolted to his car but soon came in for primes, meaning that a long second stint was on the cards.
The team reported that “Schumacher put up a solid pace, but he began struggling as the race progressed, and the prime tyres lost their edge. In the end, he could only salvage a top-10 finish.”
Mick reflected afterwards, “There’s not so much to say after this race, with P9 being obviously a bit of a pity. In the first stint, we were running pretty well but then I probably over pushed in the middle part which resulted in having no tyres left towards the end. Since [Giuliano] Alesi was on a different strategy and on fresh tyres at the end, he was able to close the gap quickly and overtake me to secure 8th position.”
On Sunday at Yas Marina, Mick finished 11th in the Sprint race to bring to an end his rookie season in the F1-feeder series. He said after the final race of the season, “I’ve learnt a lot in my first F2 season and I’m sure these experiences will prove beneficial in 2020.”
Schumacher, who was 2018 Formula 3 Champion, finished 12th overall in this year’s Formula 2 Championship and has been confirmed to race in the series next season, again with Prema, as part of the 20-year-old’s programme with the Ferrari Driver Academy. (Report by Roy Franco)
Read about the Miami GPrix from 1981]]>
In a statement, the Scuderia announced ahead of the Abu Dhabi season finale, “The Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that five of its students will race in Formula 1’s feeder series, the FIA Formula 2 championship, in 2020.
“Current F2 drivers Callum Ilott, Mick Schumacher and Giuliano Alesi will be joined by Robert Shwartzman and Marcus Armstrong, who have been promoted from FIA Formula 3, in which they both performed very well this year, finishing first and second respectively in the championship.”
The FDA said of young Schumie, “20-year-old Mick Schumacher will continue with Prema Racing, aiming to be a consistent front runner after a debut season in which he took his first win in Hungary. Other highlights included storming through the field from 19th to fifth at the flag in Baku and from 18th to fourth in Austria.”
Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies added, “2019 was a good learning year for our three F2 rookies, Callum, Mick and Giuliano. We have seen them progress and we have high hopes for next year.”
“Our priority will be to help them make further progress, both at Maranello and at race tracks around the world, so that our Academy continues to prepare talented youngsters to set their sights on being potential champions of the future with the Scuderia.”
This is the tenth year of the FDA, which began in 2009, their first alumnus was the late and sorely missed Jules Bianchi who succumbed to injuries sustained at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
While current Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, himself proof of the success of the FDA, has followed in the footsteps of his mentor and godfather Bianchi who had been destined for success until that fateful day at Suzuka.
The team added, “Since then, 17 young drivers have passed through the Maranello academy, with several of them making it to Formula 1, including Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.
“Another success story is definitely Charles Leclerc, who thanks to his training with the FDA, soon made his mark and that has led to him racing today for the most famous team in Formula 1.” (Report by Roy Franco)]]>
Mick spoke about his 2019 Schubert helmet in a Prema Racing video, “This one is a bit different than the one I had before, not only the colours but also the standard of it has changed as part of a new [directive] from FIA.
“We have new colours and have added the German flag which is nice, obviously it has a lot of history in the sport. It is also a kind of mix with my Dad’s old design,” he said in reference to one of the iconic helmets worn by his seven-time F1 World Champion father.
Mick also explained that the helmet would have a different visor, lower and smaller because of an added panel for the radio and earplugs. He also gave a detailed overview of the safety features and gizmos that make up modern racing helmets.
And he credited Jens Munser Designs for the paint-job, “He does all my helmets and I am very thankful for that because they’re great and they always look mega.”
He added, “We have a few more sponsors compared to last year, including Under Armour, SSI Schafer, Ravenol, Ferrari Driver Academy, Eurospares, Richard Mille – they all came on board this year and I’m very grateful for that. Thank you for your support and for your help.”
Schumacher lies 12th in his first season in Formula 2, in which he scored his maiden victory at the Hungary Sprint Race and, whatever the case, this year he did have one of the coolest helmets on the grid.
Keep an eye out for it – you can’t miss it – at the Formula 2 season finale weekend in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month. (Report by Roy Franco)]]>
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)]]>
Brawn’s remarks come in the wake of similar words from.
He echoes the words of former Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, who said earlier this week of Schumacher: “He is growing up now, but we still have to give him time.”
The 20-year-old son of seven-time F1 driver’s champion Michael Schumacher has endured an up-and-down rookie year in F2, where he currently sits eleventh in the standings. He recently won his first race, in Hungary.
Brawn, who worked closely alongside the elder Schumacher as Ferrari’s technical boss, told the Munich newspaper Tageszeitung: “Mick is just learning in his first year in Formula 2, which is anything but easy for a rookie. Especially learning how to manage the tyres. I think he needs another year.”
That said, Brawn does think Schumacher, a member of Ferrari’s driver development academy, will make the leap to F1 eventually, saying: “There are moments when you can guess what he’s capable of. I would love to see him succeed in Formula 1, but it would have to happen because of his talent, not because of his name. Then it would be a fantastic story.”
Mattia Binotto, the current Ferrari team principal, is also a believer in the young German’s talent.
“Mick is making good progress,” he told Bild am Sonntag. “He is gaining valuable experience in Formula 2 and the moment will come when he is ready for F1. We have invested a lot in him because we believe he can be a good Formula 1 driver.” (Report by Roy Franco)]]>