Photo: Mick Schumacher
Being a Schumacher has its privileges. The 21-year-old son of Mr. Seven-Time Champ has been fast-tracked through the Ferrari Drivers Academy program, and after winning the Formula 2 championship this year, he’s been pushed into the care of Ferrari customer team Haas to partner with Nikita Mazepin. Ferrari have appointed legendary race engineer Jock Clear to help Mick Schumacher adjust to his new life in Formula One.
After proving himself in karting and German Formula 4, and winning the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 young Mick really turned heads. In 2019 Ferrari officially brought a Schumacher back into the fold, placing him with the Premat team in Formula 2. His first year with the team was lackluster, but in 2020 he won the F2 championship with Premat. Clearly he’s inherited some of his father’s speed.
Ferrari boss — and underground professional Egon Spengler lookalike — Mattia Binotto, confirmed on Tuesday that he views Haas signing Schumacher as a temporary stepping stone to a future with the Maranello team. It doesn’t seem likely that Ferrari would move its youthful ace Charles Leclerc out of the team in favor of Schumi Junior, which means to me that Binotto views newly-signed Carlos Sainz as little more than a seat warmer.
“Mick Schumacher will be one of the drivers for Haas next year, which for us is a great opportunity, showing the strength of collaboration we’ve got,” Binotto said. “Mick is part of our Ferrari Drivers Academy and the FDA program is not there to develop drivers for F1, but it’s there to develop drivers that one day may drive a Ferrari seat, a red car.
“When you move from F2 and jump into F1, the very first year cannot be a directly into a red car because that would be too much responsibility and not enough experience. So knowing that we’ve got customer teams or partners on which we may count to continue developing our drivers in F1 is an important element.”
“Jock is a great person, a great professional who has been in Ferrari for many years, His role in 2020 was driver coach – an engineer who is supporting the drivers in order to perform in terms of driving to their best; looking at the lines, look at the way they are braking, through the corner, accelerating, managing tires… to make sure that the driver is developing well.
It’s obvious that Schumacher has the talent needed to be in Formula 1, as well as the financial and emotional support of Ferrari and others. Jock Clear, in addition to helping Leclerc in 2021, will be used by Ferrari to help coach all of its FDA drivers, including Schumacher. Interestingly, Clear was working at Mercedes during the elder Schumacher’s tenure with the three-pointed star, and functioned as his race engineer in 2011 and 2012 before running Lewis Hamilton’s garage in 2013 and 2014.
It’ll still be quite a while before young Mick proves whether he has what it takes to live up to his father’s impressive record. Hell, he’d have to bring something truly impressive if he wants to fight for titles, because Scuderia Ferrari hasn’t won a championship in 12 years.