Mick Schumacher from past to present: part 1

Mick Schumacher, 22, had high expectations throughout his life, even from the moment he was born, and he had to deal with the pressure of these expectations.

If we ask the reason for these expectations, we can answer in one word: his last name is Michael Schumacher, whose father is known as “the greatest in history”. As of March 22, 1999, when Mick was born, he was a 2-time world champion and the new hope of the reds. By the time Mick was 6 years old, he had become a 7-time world champion, winged a dominance strong enough to make Ferrari the team that needed to be stopped, and topped the “who is the best in history” debate forever.

But every ascent has a down, every birth has a death. Schumi’s era, today’s legend, was finished by Fernando Alonso, the young driver of that time, and Schumi, who paid his respects to the management who wanted to go to the restructuring, announced his retirement before the 2006 Italian GP.

One end of the flag was handed down to Alonso and to posterity before him, but what about the other end? This is where Mick Schumacher comes into play.

It is worth noting that we do not have a story of heroism and master-apprentice before us. If you ask why, it is not possible to claim that Schumi is completely devoted to raising Mick. Although Schumi’s career ended, he was very active in the Ferrari pit wall in the 2007-2008 seasons, he returned to Formula 1 with Mercedes between 2010-2012, and only one year later, as everyone knows, he fell into a coma as a result of an unfortunate ski accident. Therefore, it is safe to say that Mick did not receive serious support from Michael in almost no part of his career.

Mick Schumacher drives his father’s first champion car, 2017 Belgian GP

Photo: Mick Schumacher

When we take a glance at the past, we can see that Mick did not want to be his father’s shadow since his childhood, and that his dedication to motor sports was based on his childhood passions rather than his upbringing. The greatest example of this is that Mick did not use the surname Schumacher in the early part of his career. Mick, who wanted to hide his identity with his family’s suggestions, used his mother’s maiden name for this purpose and competed with the name “Mick Betsch”. Towards the end of 2013, we see that he left this name and used the name “Mick Junior” for a while. It was only after his transition to the German Formula 4 Championship in 2015 that he used the surname Schumacher.

The results he achieved in his karting career before Formula 4 show that Mick aimed to achieve some success before using his surname, and that his chronic problem of “adapting to different conditions in two or three years” emerged from that time. For example, we can see that he finished the European Karting Championship, which he finished 27th in 2013, in the second place the following year, or the World Karting Championship, which he finished 58th in 2013, again in the second place the following year.

Nico Rosberg and Mick Schumacher

Nico Rosberg and Mick Schumacher

Photo: Daimler AG

A very difficult four-year process awaited Mick, who came to F4 in 2015, satisfied with his achievements. Mick, who was burdened by his father’s accident, finished the first year of his F4 career, which he started with Van Amersfoort Racing, in 10th place. Reaching the victory in his third race, Mick struggled with unstable results for the remainder of the season and only managed to get one more podium.

In 2016, however, things were a little better. Mick, who left Van Amersfoort and moved to a successful team like Prema, who competed simultaneously in both the German and Italian championships, came second in both championships and managed to take another step on the way to Formula 1; He would race again in Formula 3 with Prema from the next season! Let’s also mention that Mick achieved a total of 10 victories, 8 poles and 22 podiums in the two championships that year. Once again, he performed much better in his second year.

2017 was Mick’s first public appearance and the first time he was going to give such a serious test. Mick started well again in the championship, in which Mick from those days and we now know names such as Lando Norris, Guanyu Zhou and Nikita Mazepin, climbed to the podium at the speed temple Monza in the fifth race, and then went into free fall. Schumacher, who finished 12th in the championship with this single podium, had to watch Norris, who is the same age, signed with McLaren at the beginning of the year and became the F3 champion in his rookie season.

He also had a show drive in the Belgian F3 race with his Benetton car, which his father had won in 1994, and tifosi, who missed Schumi, wanted to see him get behind the wheel of the F2004 or F2002 as soon as possible. Good or bad, the name of Schumacher alone was enough to get people excited.

Mick Schumacher, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz

Mick Schumacher, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F317 – Mercedes-Benz

Photo: James Gasperotti

2018 was a “rollercoaster season” for Mick. Criticism of Mick, who was able to get on the podium only 2 times in the first 14 races and continued his unstable performance, began to increase, such as “do we pay so much attention because of his last name, or is he not more than an ordinary pilot”. In the championship, he was also quite behind: he was 67 points behind the championship leader and then Red Bull academy driver Dan Ticktum.

Everything changed in the 3rd race in Belgium, the 15th race of the season. Mick, who made a breakthrough and achieved the victory with a dominant performance, took the step that could turn his bad luck on the track where his father won his first Formula 1 race in 1992.

Mick dominated the season from then on. He finished the season with eight wins, five in a row, seven pole positions and 14 podiums. Let’s not forget that he has achieved 12 podiums in the last 16 races. When Dan Ticktum’s problems in the last six races and his declining performance are added to this performance, Mick inevitably reached the championship and he did this with one race left. Mick, who spent his karting and F4 career with second places and instability, was finally the champion of an important series.

Along with Mick’s suddenly rising performance, it also brought a lot of speculation. There were some allegations that Mick was given concessions and “reached” the championship. The biggest of these claims was Dan Ticktum’s statements that “Mick’s ascendant form is interesting, many people in the paddock think in this direction”, but Mick did not take the event personally and did not give an important response to Ticktum. Known for his aggressive personality and unnecessary straightness, Ticktum never did what was expected after that season and was expelled from the Red Bull academy after a while. Apart from these claims, the championship was interpreted as “Mick is better in his 2nd season, he just needs to find himself”. This situation, which attracted the attention of some people, has now become a reality.

Champion Mick Schumacher, PREMA Theodore Racing Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz and his mother Corinna Schumacher

Champion Mick Schumacher, PREMA Theodore Racing Dallara F317 – Mercedes-Benz and his mother Corinna Schumacher

Photo: FIA F3 / Suer

It was almost certain that he would switch to Formula 2 after the championship, and the official announcement came shortly after the end of the season. His team was going to be Prema once again, as their trust was rewarded and they thought Mick would be the right name for F2 as well.

More importantly, it was the first time that Formula 1 doors were opened after the championship and the transition to F2. Two teams his father had previously competed with, Mercedes and Ferrari, had offered him a place in the youth driver program. Mercedes was the hegemonic power of F1 at that time, but there was a problem that they could not find a seat for names such as Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein, although they had a talent like George Russell, both names were outside F1. Ferrari, on the other hand, might have pushed Mick even further into his father’s shadow, but it’s never easy for someone who gets an offer from Ferrari to refuse, no matter what. As Sebastian Vettel said; Everyone is a Ferrari fan.

Evaluating the two options, Mick chose Scuderia and took the step that will shape his career, and perhaps enable him to be in Formula 1 today. The next target was the Formula 2 championship, and on a grid that has been weakened by the departures of names like Russell, Norris, Alex Albon and Artem Markelov, that wasn’t a dream.

However, once again a difficult year awaited him.

The first article of the series from the past to the present has been completed. The next chapter, in which we will cover Mick Schumacher’s Formula 2 and Formula 1 career, will be with you shortly.

The next guest of our column will be Kevin Magnussen.