Mick Schumacher tipped to emulate father and become F1 great
"Mick has the racing genes of Michael. If he can continue to deliver performances like these, he will find his way into F1."
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 04/12/18 4:53pm
Mick Schumacher has been backed to emulate his legendary father and become "one of the greats" after sealing his first single-seater championship.
Schumacher, the son of seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael, claimed the European Formula 3 title with a race to spare at Hockenheim on Saturday.
It has been a breakthrough season for the 19-year-old, part of the Mercedes-powered PREMA squad.
Early on in his career, Schumacher raced under his mother's maiden name of Betsch to avoid the extra attention and pressure but now he is earning praise, regardless of his surname.
"Attention was focused on the youngster right from the start, and he was under a lot of pressure," said Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff. "It's not easy coping with all that, especially if the season does not get off to the best of starts, as in this case.
"His performance in the second half of the season was therefore all the more impressive. He has shown that he has what it takes and that he can become one of the greats in our sport."
Gerhard Berger, the former Ferrari driver and 10-time F1 race-winner, added: "Mick has the racing genes of Michael. If he can continue to deliver performances like these, he will find his way into F1."
By claiming the championship, Mick has earned a 'super license' to compete in F1 next year but considering the dearth of seats on the grid, it is far more likely that he takes the next step up the motorsport ladder in Formula Two.
Schumacher has not yet been snapped up by an F1 team for their junior programme, but has been linked with Mercedes due to his F3 affiliation, while Ferrari, where his father won five of his championships, have also expressed an interest.
"We will see about the future," said Ferrari chief Maurzio Arrivabene in September. "How can you say no, in Maranello, to a name like this?"
Mick following in Michael's footsteps
Schumacher's success is all the more incredible and poignant given his journey. As a 14-year-old, Mick was skiing with his father in France when Michael suffered severe head injuries, and he has not been seen in public since.
Mick describes his father, the most successful F1 driver of all-time who won the German F3 title as a youngster, as his role model.
"It's a slightly unreal feeling - I'm absolutely delighted," said Mick after his own F3 triumph. "I still can't quite believe it."
Schumacher won the championship in his second season, after finishing 12th in his rookie year. He won eight races in 2018, starting at Spa, where his father made his F1 debut with Jordan.
His main rival was Britain's Dan Ticktum, who controversially described Mick's pace in the second half of the season as "interesting" and claimed: "Unfortunately however I am fighting a losing battle as my last name is not Schumacher."
But Schumacher, watched on by mother Corinna as he won his title, shrugged off such suggestions.
He is now focused on working his way up to F1 - looking to add to the 13 father-son combinations to make it into the top category.
In this form, there won't be a shortage of interested teams.
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