Mick Schumacher must take F1 'train', says Fernando Alonso
Alonso says Mick Schumacher must "take that train" if and when an F1 team offers him a drive; Returning Fernando shared Bahrain test track with Mick, the son of former rival Michael Schumacher
By James Galloway and Craig Slater
Last Updated: 03/04/19 11:27am
Fernando Alonso has advised Mick Schumacher to take the first F1 opportunity that comes his way.
The 20-year-old made his F1 testing debut with Ferrari, his father's former team, at Bahrain on Tuesday, returning the Schumacher name to one of their cars for the first time in 10 years.
Although no stranger to testing himself, Alonso was back in an F1 car for the first time in five months with McLaren to test tyres and assess their promising 2019 car. Alonso was a title rival of Schumacher Snr's in the 2000s and named the seven-time champion as the greatest driver he raced against.
And Alonso reckons that should an opportunity for a race seat come Mick's way in the next year or two, the youngster should not hesitate.
"It's better to go always as early as you can," Alonso told Sky Sports News.
"You never know when the train will come in Formula 1 when you are young.
"He's in F2 this year, that's the full concentration I guess for him to do a good championship. If he does well and an F1 team relies on your talent you have to take that train."
Alonso began his own F1 career aged 19 with the small Minardi team, before earning a move to Renault a year later.
Todt on 'emotional' Schumacher debut
Schumacher Jr's career progression has accelerated since last summer.
Winning the European F3 championship in 2018, after taking all eight of his wins in the category in the season's closing three months, Schumacher then earned a promotion to F2, F1's feeder series, and made his debut in Bahrain last weekend, finishing in the points in both races.
In Tuesday's F1 test, Schumacher completed 56 laps and set the second-quickest time. He drives for Alfa Romeo, a Ferrari-affiliated team, on Wednesday.
As the son of the sport's most-successful ever driver, the 20-year-old is inevitably under more focus than most at this early stage of his career, but his advisors have no plan to rush him through the final stage to F1.
"There is no need to be in a hurry," Nicolas Todt, who helps guide Schumacher's career, told Sky Sports News.
"What is important is for Mick to hopefully one day, hopefully not too late, to reach Formula 1 and to be there for many years.
"His goal is not to be as soon as possible in Formula 1 but about reaching Formula 1 as a very prepared man, like Charles Leclerc has done."
Nicolas Todt is the son of FIA president Jean Todt, who was team principal to Mick's father during Ferrari's record-breaking years in the early 2000s.
"It's a very emotional day. The first time for him to be in a Formula 1 car, in a red car, Ferrari, it means a lot to the family and many fans to see the Schumacher name in a red car," admitted Todt, who also manages Charles Leclerc.
"My job for Mick is to advise the family to guide them and to guide them or give them some advice what I think they could do. Like Charles, he's entering the Ferrari Academy, which is a great thing for Mick to be part of the Ferrari family. He's already in Formula 2 and has got great support.
"Driving with Ferrari is very good for his learning curve."
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