Schumacher junior to make his F1 test debut
Twenty-year-old Mick gears up to follow in his famous father’s footsteps
Michael Schumacher’s son Mick is set to make his Formula One debut behind the wheel of a Ferrari test in Bahrain next month.
Auto Bild reported on Sunday that Schumacher, the 20-year-old son of seven-time world champion Michael, could appear at a young drivers’ test in April.
Teams will be obliged to trial young drivers for two days at the mid-season test in Bahrain on April 2 and 3.
On Monday, autosport.com reported that Schumacher will test the Ferrari SF90 on Tuesday April 2, before taking the wheel for Alfa Romeo the following day. The Alfa Romeo team have close links to Ferrari, who signed Schumacher junior as an academy driver in January.
Mick Schumacher was crowned European champion at Formula Three level with Prema in 2018, and will make the step up to Formula Two this season.
Michael Schumacher, 50, has not been seen in public since he suffered a serious head injury in a skiing accident in France in 2013. The German won five of his titles with Ferrari, the sport’s most glamorous team, between 2000 and 2004, and still holds the record of 91 race wins.
Mick said recently he had no problem with people comparing him to his father.
“Being compared to the best driver in F1 history is the goal you want to achieve and to have that as my idol and my father is something very special,” he said.
“I feel honoured to be compared to him because I can just learn and try to improve.”
Netflix F1 series a big hit
Netflix’s behind-the-scenes Drive to Survive Formula One documentary has been a huge success that could change the way broadcasters engage with audiences, one of the sport’s top sponsors said.
The 10-part series, made in conjunction with Formula One and covering the 2018 championship, was released ahead of the Australian season-opener in Melbourne earlier this month.
Filmed without the co-operation of world champions Mercedes and rivals Ferrari, it focuses on those further down the starting grid, such as the US-owned Haas team and their principal Guenther Steiner.
“I think it’s phenomenally successful, certainly from our perspective,” Heineken’s sponsorship lead for F1, Ben Pincus, said at an Advertising Week Europe panel discussion on the “resurgence of Formula One”.
“It’s fascinating how you can tell a story without actually ever featuring any on-track action, and a story that in some respects is more compelling and more engaging to your less hardcore fan,” he added.
“I think it’s been a great success … it’s getting people thinking differently about how they broadcast, how they engage with audiences.
“It makes you think about stuff that you might take for granted being really interesting and appealing to others.”
Pincus suggested Formula One’s “traditional linear broadcasters” could grow their audiences by adopting some of Netflix’s story-telling techniques when it comes to the off-track action.
Red Bull Racing’s head of marketing Oliver Hughes said it seemed as though 90% of those on his flight to Melbourne had been watching the series.
He added that Red Bull, who feature prominently in parting ways with Renault and Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, had given the Netflix cameras good access and would be even more welcoming for a second season now in the works.
“We entered it with pretty open eyes and a huge amount of trust, and our view is that for this year we’ll be more into it than we were last season,” he said.
“We gave access that was enough to be credible, but we could have given more. I think the teams that gave more, especially in the midfield, have provided a really interesting story.”
Yath Gangakumaran, Formula One’s director of corporate strategy and business development, said Netflix did not give viewing figures but had “told us it’s gone down very well”.