Mick Schumacher is eager to ensure his family name remains a part of Formula One’s present and future as well as its past when he makes his Grand Prix debut later this month.
The 21-year-old son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is set to be on the grid for American team Haas at the season-opening race in Bahrain — an event won by Michael when the Gulf state staged its inaugural Grand Prix in 2004.
It will be the first time a member of the family has been involved directly in a Formula One race since Michael retired in 2012 and 30 years after the German great’s impressive debut for the Jordan team at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix.
“I have never said that carrying the family name is pressure, and I am pretty sure I will never say that because I am very happy to carry that name back into Formula One,” said Schumacher at Haas’ 2021 launch on Thursday.
“I am very proud of it. It is a boost for me and it gives me motivation every single day to work as much as I can and work as hard as I can.”
Schumacher senior went on to win 91 races for Benetton and Ferrari, with five of his world titles coming in the famous red colours of the Italian marque.
It was only last year that Britain’s Lewis Hamilton surpassed his total of race wins, with the Mercedes driver bidding to capture an unprecedented eighth world title this season.
The 52-year-old Michael Schumacher has not been seen in public for more than seven years after a skiing accident, witnessed by Mick, in the French Alps left him with severe brain injuries.
‘Will try to improve’
Schumacher, last season’s Formula Two champion, added: “I will try to improve in every aspect — that is what I want to do — and I will work my arse off for that and give everything I have.”
Schumacher and fellow rookie Nikita Mazepin are set to be Haas’ two drivers this season.
Mazepin is the 22-year-old son of billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, a non-executive director of Russian company Uralkali, who are the main title partner of the Haas team.
Uralkali, one of the world’s largest potash fertiliser producers and exporters, have signed a multi-year agreement starting with Haas, with the team’s race car set to be decked out in the colours of the Russian flag even though they are an American outfit.
The VF-21 race car will make its physical debut on March 12, the first day of pre-season testing hosted at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Haas managed just three points in the 2020 constructors’ championship as they finished in a lowly ninth place, with only fallen giants Williams below them in the 10-team table.
“It’s definitely a case of all change but I’m hoping that we get back to being in the mix for scoring some points at these races,” said Gene Haas, the chairman of the Uralkali-Haas team.