Sebastian Vettel believes that the eventual participation of Mick Schumacher in Formula 1 could provide a boost in popularity in the sport in Germany.
Throughout the 90s and noughties, Michael Schumacher’s emergence as the most successful driver of all time resulted in a surge in support for motorsport in Germany. That popularity has dwindled in more recent years after his retirement, but Vettel, also a German, reckons his son Mick could inject life into the support again.
“It is crucial to give him the time he needs. It is fair to judge him and his racing like everyone else has been judged, will be judged,” the Ferrari driver said ahead of the German Grand Prix this weekend.
“It's not right to measure and compare to other people, to his father. It is not fair. It is a different time. Different racing.
“Obviously, Michael is the one who set off a huge hype when we were kids. The name Schumacher is 100% known in Germany due to him.
“To have Mick at the doorstep of F1 and one day hopefully joining, would be huge. And a big boost for Germany.”
Along with Schumacher, there was a batch of other German drivers around at that time, while there is only two now - Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg. The former doesn’t see this as a big deal, however, saying it presents a natural cycle.
“There was a time when we had a lot of Germans in F1, five or six. I think everyone was wondering why. Now there is two,” he added.
“I think it is just how it goes around. Hopefully he gets the chance one day and does well.”
Hockenheim's bosses expect to lose the race in 2020 and their desperation to boost flagging ticket sales has seen a demonstration in Schumacher Snr's title-winning Ferrari F2004 over the race weekend.
"There could maybe be a test, or a demonstration run in an old Ferrari from his father, or whatever,” Jorn Teske, Hockenheim's marketing chief, told Motorsport.com.
"We would like to see him on the track in an F1 car. That's important.
"We made the decision makers aware very early that this is important for the German race.
"We told them when Mick won the F3 championship at our race in Hockenheim, we told them when it was announced that he's racing for Prema in F2. We tried to convince them and made a lot of pressure.
"When the F2 calendar was published, we were really disappointed.
"I know there were efforts afterwards from Liberty Media, that's good. I think they realised lately the importance of Mick for Germany, the big enthusiasm Mick is bringing to the sport and to Germany. Maybe at that time it was too late."