Fernando Alonso, one of the most astonishing F1 talents of the grid, is known to have famously said:
“Even when we are kids, we dream to be professional racing drivers one day. The second dream is to be a Formula 1 driver. The third dream is to be a Ferrari Formula 1 driver.”
There are few on the present Formula 1 grid on whom the above applies as solidly other than Mick Schumacher and perhaps ever so naturally.
For starters, Mick isn’t just a driver; he’s part of a racing heritage that has given much to the sport. He’s born to a legacy that enjoys a cult status in the top flight of motorsport.
Many, whether from his native Germany or outside, would actually feel that Formula 1 would evidence a natural order of things the day the Genolier-born driver heads to Maranello.
After all, his father, who began from Benetton, realized his true potential at Ferrari, where he’d go on to establish a reign that only Sir Lewis Hamilton has come to better; Hamilton’s 82 wins with Mercedes are 10 more than what Michael Schumacher and Ferrari achieved as a duo.
So it’s only natural that Mick Schumacher, who joined the Ferrari Driver Academy on 19 January, 2019, to actually compete for the very team his father transformed into a true giant in the 2000s.
In a sport that is high on speed as also on emotions, it would have stirred many to see Michael Schumacher coming to live Grands Prix to root for his son, dressed in pure red racing overalls, in the future.
But what seems to be the underlying truth, one that can spoil what is currently a rosy picture, is that there’s uncertainty on both fronts.
Frankly speaking, there’s little uncertainty about how Michael Schumacher’s health is holding up at the moment. But, it seems uncertainty has enveloped the prospect of Mick Schumacher moving to Ferrari, a team that is his number# 1 ambition from the day he set foot into the topsy turvy world of Formula 1.
And there are multiple reasons for that beginning with the fact that on their part, Ferrari, currently being ferried and rather so smoothly by the Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. pairing, have decided not to break the dynamic duo.
Leclerc, the long-term prospect at Maranello, is already leading this year’s championship standings even as only four races are done. On the other hand, Carlos Sainz has been locked in until the end of the 2024 season, which clearly means that the Scuderia stable isn’t all that keen on having the services of Mick, 23, just yet.
But on his own part, Mick Schumacher’s form is anything but trailblazing. While there was little he could’ve done anyway having sat inside a car that proved itself to be little more than a backmarker last year, the Haas of 2022, as it’s turned is anything but a result of frazzled engineering.
At the same time you can cut Mick Schumacher some slack for his 2021 exploits, where he did crash out in 3 races of the 22 held. But you couldn’t possibly avoid the fact that when compared to Nikita Mazepin, who earned a reputation for spinning much too frequently on the track, Schumacher was evidently more at home (and ease) in handling a car that lacked both speed and the gravitas one needs to make a statement early on in one’s career.
To his credit, Mick did deliver strong race results, noticeably at Azerbaijan, where courtesy his P13, he beat the likes of Hamilton, Russell and Latifi. He even impressed one and all driving home a fighting P12 at the acerbically challenging Hungaroring, where for a good measure of two back to back laps, he negated the threat of being passed by Max Verstappen (of all drivers) in a close duel toward the end of the Grand Prix.
But having not scored a point so far, even if that had been a P10 and nothing else, seems to be the problem. It’s an issue that only gets compounded given that there are no empty seats right now at the Scuderia Stable for well until 2024’s end.
In a sport where you simply cannot put a finger onto what may happen the very next lap, who knows how the driver market may fare two years hence from where we are today?
That being told, there are the likes of Gerhard Berger, once a prominent Ferrari driver, who have the following to say about Mick at Ferrari:
“First of all, I think [a move to Ferrari] would be too early for MickI think Mick just has to make his way now, and he has to show this year that he can also compete against his team-mate and that he is ahead of him. Therefore, he has a huge task ahead of him. I also don’t think Mick thinks, how can I go to Ferrari now? No, now you have to perform at Haas, now you have to beat your team-mate!”
So essentially speaking, if beating his teammate at Haas is the only real way to furnish evidence about his driving capabilities, then that clearly means Mick has an onerous task in front: that of beating an in-form Kevin Magnussen, who inspired raving headlines upon his F1 comeback at Bahrain, courtesy his valiant fifth.
So when and how can Mick outdo the seemingly insurmountable odds that lay in front of him?