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How Mick Schumacher can establish his own legacy away from legendary dad Michael

How Mick Schumacher can establish his own legacy away from legendary dad Michael

F1 News

How Mick Schumacher can establish his own legacy away from legendary dad Michael

How Mick Schumacher can establish his own legacy away from legendary dad Michael

Graham and Damon Hill. Keke and Nico Rosberg. Both pairs are father and son champions in Formula 1. The newest addition to the sport is aiming to join the exclusive club in the near future.

But what Mick Schumacher will have to contend with in terms of pressure is an unparalleled weight of expectation because of his father.

Michael's record number of seven championships may recently have been equalled by Lewis Hamilton, but the German is still put onto a pedestal unlike any other driver.

So how will Mick establish himself as his own entity and not just 'Michael's son'?

Results business

To answer the question above, people will soon drop that narrative should he begin performing regularly at a high standard.

That does not mean scoring points on a regular basis next season, not with Haas expected to languish at the back of the field after team principal Guenther Steiner revealed the team would cease development of the 2021 iteration of the car in January.

But if Schumacher can consistently outperform fellow rookie team-mate Nikita Mazepin and challenge Williams and Alfa Romeo during a season that will be used more as a learning curve, then he will at least lay the right foundations.

Throughout his junior career, the F2 championship leader has needed a season to settle in and become familiar with team protocols and new circuits, amongst other details.

Haas' prospective fallow season should assist in taking the spotlight off in his debut year.

Support network

After the announcement that Schumacher would race for Haas next term, he spoke of how he has had to develop mental fortitude through his junior career.

“I guess definitely it is something that I have had with me and I have got used to it," he said of the pressure he has faced because of his surname.

"I didn’t have to specifically work on it but I think definitely one thing that is important is that you have a family that is always open and true to you.

"If you have friends that tell you how it is and you have facts then you will stay grounded and you will be able to see things in a different perspective than if you would be trying to do all of this alone.

“So definitely, I have had the luck and I am lucky to have such a great bunch of people around me.”

You do not have to be the most religious of observers of F1 to have noticed a media frenzy any time Mick is in the paddock.

He was flavour of the week at the Nürburgring for what should have been his maiden FP1 outing before fog ruined his day, whilst his demonstration runs at Mugello in his father's title-winning Ferrari F2004 certainly turned heads.

But with Steiner, he has one of the most media-savvy team principals in the sport and of course, Schumacher is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy that has helped propel Charles Leclerc to the factory team and helped establish Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo.

He also has the likes of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali to fall back on should he need to - all of whom worked with his father and now work at the FIA or F1 itself. Mick has even said he would lean on the trio if needed.

How he deals with the storm that will undoubtedly follow him will ultimately define his career.

Junior success provides a launchpad

Schumacher will be buoyed by the fact he has won championships. No one can say 'he is only there because of his name'. He has still had to prove his worth.

In 2018, Schumacher emerged victorious from a hotly contested European F3 championship that included many of this season's F2 drivers - Robert Shwartzman, Guanyu Zhou and Dan Ticktum to name but a few.

To put into context how strong an achievement this is, Max Verstappen failed to win this championship in his time in the series.

This year, he looks set to clinch the F2 championship ahead of Callum Illot and new team-mate Mazepin after a supremely consistent season. Again, to even challenge for the title in such a competitive category speaks volumes of Schumacher's talent.

"A dream come true"

Make no bones about it, the task Schumacher faces to cement his worthy place on the grid is considerable, as it is for most drivers, of course.

Sons and nephews of former drivers have come and gone in F1. Nelson Piquet Jr, Kazuki Nakajima and Bruno Senna all struggled to create a lasting career in the sport although they were by no means the only ones.

Some drivers achieve more than their parents. Verstappen is proof of that having followed in the footsteps of father Jos to reach the top echelon of motorsport.

Yet only Senna has had to deal with a pressure that comes anywhere near what Mick will have to deal with. Being related to Ayrton proved to be a mighty shadow over the Brazilian during his time in the sport.

Schumacher, though, has worked far too hard to let any outside influences determine the trajectory of his career.

"I'm really just a bit overwhelmed and happy that everything has been confirmed and that I'm going to be standing on the grid next year," said Schumacher.

"Obviously it's a dream come true for me, a dream I've been chasing since I was three years old, and now it's finally happened, it's great.

"I'm just really looking forward to working with a great team and to really get everything going. I'm sure they're supporting in every aspect."

No doubt then that Mick Schumacher is the most highly anticipated rookie driver of a generation. There will be few around the world who would wish him anything other than good fortune.

Can he step out of the shadows to create a new Schumacher legacy? Only time will tell.

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