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.
Baby @SchumacherMick first got behind the wheel with his father Michael at just one year old 🥺#F1 #RoadToF1 pic.twitter.com/2RYP9aQ061
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 2, 2020
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.
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.”
Mick has been allowed into the circuit today to complete his seat fit, ready for his drive in Abu Dhabi next week. #HaasF1 pic.twitter.com/Z3PP709bkG
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 2, 2020
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.
Why Mick Schumacher? ✍️
Will @RGrosjean race again this year? 🇦🇪@HaasF1Team boss Guenther Steiner spoke to @craigslatersky earlier today ⤵️#SkyF1 | #F1 pic.twitter.com/Kf70iOcCYV
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) December 2, 2020