Scuderia Ferrari believes its junior driver Mick Schumacher would be a “good candidate” for a Formula 1 seat in the future.
The son of seven-time F1 world champion Michael, Schumacher finished 12th overall in his maiden Formula 2 season in 2019, scoring a victory in the reversed-grid race at the Hungaroring.
He also completed his first two official F1 test days last year, running first for Ferrari then Alfa Romeo at the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test in April.
Team principal Mattia Binotto said Ferrari was “expecting much” from Schumacher in 2020: “We are very proud having made him part of the FDA,” said Mattia Binotto – “That’s it for the obvious love, not only because he is Michael Schumacher’s son, but because I think he’s a good driver, he actually performed well even in this season. If you look at the standings you can see some experienced drivers on top, but he had one good season to gain experience. And if you look in term of rookies, too, he was doing well. He was a rookie. So, I think that next season will be key for him to understand how much he’s progressing. We are expecting much from the next year because he will have one season of experience and we are pretty sure he’s a good candidate for F1 in the future.” – he added.
Mattia Binotto added it was too soon to judge whether Mick Schumacher will be a prospect for the main Ferrari team. Any initial F1 promotion would likely come at Alfa Romeo, as Ferrari controls one of the seats at the Sauber-run squad.
“Will he be a candidate for Ferrari either in the future? It’s really too early on,” continued Mattia Binotto – “But again, the aim of the FDA is to find the next talent for Ferrari and he is part of the FDA because finally, we believe he’s got the talent to stay in this group. 2021 will be too early for one of our young talents, too. In 2021 some experience from drivers will be important because it’s a completely new type of car.” – he added.
Autosport sources indicate Mick Schumacher was being evaluated for the second Alfa seat, but a combination of his F2 results and Antonio Giovinazzi’s improved form in the second half of the season meant the Italian was ultimately given another year in F1.
Schumacher told Autosport there was “no opportunity of a seat” for 2020, despite that link: “Clearly if you get the opportunity, you take it, so the opportunity hasn’t been there,” said Schumacher. – “That’s pretty open and clear. But then the next decision was to stay in F2. For me the most intelligent and most reliable decision I could take and category I could drive in. F2 is going to have the new [18-inch] tyres next year, which is going to be positive for me because that’s going to be for F1 in 2021. If then we manage to do the step [to F1] I would have a head start.” – Mick concluded.