Following in a father’s footsteps in sports is often more of a curse than a blessing. Expectations skyrocket before the son has even been able to cut his teeth.
In football there were Peter and Kasper Schmeichel. Basketball has Doc and Austin Rivers. Cricket had Ian and Liam Botham. Some successions work brilliantly, others never see the son emerge from their father’s shadow.
And in sporting father-son terms, there is no greater shade and no greater expectation than that of Michael Schumacher’s son, Mick.
Mick Schumacher (left) is determined to follow in the footsteps of father Michael (right) in F1
Schumacher Jr. drove for the Tuscan Grand Prix last weekend in his father’s old Ferrari F2004
Where one points to a silver spoon, another sees a poisoned chalice in front of the soft voice of the young Schumacher.
The 21-year-old German is currently leading the Formula 2 Championship in his second year at the reserve level of the sport.
And Schumacher is on the cusp of being promoted to F1 next year with a seat at Alfa Romeo or Haas that is claimed to be his.
But in the end Schumacher Jr. wants Ferrari. He wants to be back in Maranello to follow his father’s lead.
Mick Schumacher emerges as a true star and is currently leading the Formula 2 Championship
His raw talent is immense and he doesn’t seem to be burdened by the extra expectations of him
‘It has to do with history’, ‘Schumacher said Autosport when asked how he feels in Italy.
‘I feel attracted to this, I grew up here and with the exception of one season – Van Amersfoort in Formula 4 – I drove for Italian teams. In karting I drove for Tony Kart, and with Prema I am part of an Italian team.
‘The passion [Italians] for motorsport is great, and it is equally observable at Ferrari. It is special to be in Maranello. ‘
Mick is fiercely private, like his dad, and he had to grow up quickly after being with his dad seven years ago in his tragic skiing accident.
Michael suffered a near-fatal brain injury in December 2013 when he fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing off-piste in the French Alps.
He was placed in a medically induced coma, which he is now out of, but after the skiing accident that left him fighting for his life, his condition has been kept a closely guarded secret from those outside his manor on Lake Geneva.
Schumacher (left) is in line for a promotion to Formula 1 next season with available seats
Michael Schumacher had a horrific skiing accident in the French Alps in December 2013
The Schumacher name is arguably the best known in motorsport history, and no colleague of Mick is expected to succeed as quickly as he will be.
He is very guarded and rarely opens up to the media. He lives near Geneva with father Michael and mother Corinna.
If Mick gets promoted to F1 next season and becomes the latest young hotshot on a grid that is getting younger, he will face some incredible goals if he wants to match – and exceed – his dad.
Seven world titles, 91 race wins and 68 pole positions is the statistic that Schumacher Snr finished by the time he called the time for his career.
Ross Brawn, now F1 general manager, was once Michael’s mentor at Ferrari. Still involved in the sport and blessed to see Mick’s rise, there is a growing sense that he is witnessing a chip from the old block.
Brawn wrote in his recent F1 column: ‘It was great to see a car close to my heart – the Ferrari F2004 – getting another getaway in the hands of Mick Schumacher on Sunday.
Ross Brawn (right), who was a mentor to Michael (left), believes Mick will be in F1 soon enough
Michael was a force of nature in that car and won his seventh world title, and it looks like Mick really enjoyed his last demonstration run in it. Mick himself is currently driving excellently in Formula 2 and is leading the championship after another solid weekend in Mugello. Keep it up and he will definitely be on the F1 grid soon. ‘
When asked if he ever thought of taking a different road, a road his father had traveled less to find his own name in the world, he insisted that no plan B is needed as plan A works so well for his family.
“I discussed this with a friend, and we decided to each take an imaginary job that didn’t involve motorcycles,” he told Autosport.
‘I just couldn’t find one. Everything had to do with motorcycles, and always will be. Plan B? Plan A works fine for me. ‘
If ever in doubt, Mick’s rise is proof that it’s real like father, like son.