Haas F1 says Mick Schumacher has bright future: ‘He doesn’t want to live off the name’

Mick Schumacher F1 future
Haas F1

SAKHIR, Bahrain — Mick Schumacher will make his debut in Formula One next season for the Haas F1 team, which will be tasked with guiding the future of a driver who will be scrutinized because of his surname.

Haas announced Wednesday the signing of the 21-year-old son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher, bringing the famous name back to the grid for the first time since the seven-time champion retired at the end of the 2012 season. His path has been guided by Ferrari, the team that delivered five of Michael Schumacher’s titles.

Mick Schumacher will be stepping up from Formula Two, where he leads the standings with one round to go. He has two victories and 10 podiums this season.

Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner said in an interview with SkySports that the team’s goal was to get Schumacher acclimated to F1, possibly grooming him for an eventual move into a first-tier ride.

“We need to try to grow him as much as possible to lead him into F1 for his future,” Steiner said. “He’s got a great future in front of him, and we’re the first step for him. We’re trying to introduce him to F1 as a driver, as a personality and that’s our aim for the next two to three years to make him ready for the future.”

Steiner noted there will be a brighter spotlight on the 2021 rookie because “he’s called Schumacher. These things come with pluses and minuses Sometimes people will be critical, but I think that drives him more to be successful. He doesn’t want to live off the name. He wants to live off his results.”

Schumacher joined Ferrari’s Driver Academy development program in 2019, and his arrival continues a close relationship between Haas and the Italian carmaker, which supplies the U.S. team’s engines and numerous other components. He will be teamed at Haas with Russian driver Nikita Mazepin.

He has tested F1 cars with Ferrari and Alfa Romeo Racing and had been scheduled to drive Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo in two practices at the Nurburgring in October before the sessions were scrubbed for inclement weather. Schumacher still was part of the race weekend, presenting one of his father’s helmets to Lewis Hamilton after the seven-time champion tied the elder Schumacher’s record for F1 victories.

Mick Schumacher presented Lewis Hamilton with a helmet of  Michael Schumacher’s after Hamilton’s 91st victory in F1 (Peter Fox/Getty Images).

In a social media video from Haas F1, Schumacher said reaching the series “really has been a dream that I’ve always dreamed about and now it’s finally coming true, so I’m just emotionally exploding really.

“The prospect of being on the Formula 1 grid next year makes me incredibly happy and I’m simply speechless,” Schumacher, who will make a practice debut with the team next week in Abu Dhabi, said in a release.

“I would like to thank Haas F1 Team, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari Driver Academy for placing their trust in me. I also want to acknowledge and extend my love to my parents. I know that I owe them everything. I have always believed that I would realize my dream of Formula 1.

“A huge thank you must also go to all the great motorsport fans out there who have supported me throughout my career. I will give it my all, as I always do, and I look forward to going on this journey together with Haas F1 and them.”

Haas is replacing drivers Romain Grosjean, who has been with the team since its 2016 inception, and Kevin Magnussen, who joined in 2017.

Grosjean will miss Sunday’s second race in Bahrain after his fiery crash at the same venue last week and will be temporarily replaced by Pietro Fittipaldi.

Haas said Schumacher will make his team debut in the first practice session for the season finale in Abu Dhabi and also will be part of the young driver test at the Yas Marina circuit.

There is a chance that Schumacher could make his F1 debut with Haas in place of Grosjean at the Dec. 13 race, but Steiner said Grosjean would make the decision on whether he will drive in his final race for the team.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.