Scuderia Ferrari junior Mick Schumacher feels his better knowledge of the Formula 1 tracks will represent a key factor for his improvement in the next Formula 1 season, which will be his second year in the sport alongside Haas.
Mick Schumacher made his Formula 1 debut in 2021 for the American team and partnered Nikita Mazepin but had to settle only for an internal battle to avoid the last place in the championship given that Haas decided not to develop their car and instead focus on designing its new challenger for the 2022 Formula 1 season.
Only time will tell if Haas’ call was the right one, but regardless of this, there is one important advantage which the Ferrari Driver Academy member will have as compared to the previous campaign, the fact that he knows more of the circuits he will be racing once again.
Mick Schumacher had experience of some, but not all, of the 2021 circuits from junior categories and there was tangible evidence he could achieve much more once he understood every detail of how to make the most of the tracks. One good example from last year was the Red Bull Ring, which hosted back-to-back events in 2021: from the Styrian to the Austrian Grand Prix a week later, Mick Schumacher was the driver with the biggest improvement in his qualifying lap time.
Asked if that was what could be expected of him at other tracks in 2022, he explained: “Yeah, definitely. This year, I go to venues knowing what to expect, so that means I don’t have to fight my way through the traffic in FP1 and can straight away start developing the car and set-up. It’s just super-beneficial that if you start off with a close set-up then you are very quickly, let’s say in FP2, sure of your set-up. Then the whole Saturday becomes so much easier because you can just focus on the points you need for qualifying. So my hope is very high for this year and the expectations are also quite high.” – he explained.
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Despite the fact that Mick Schumacher did not have the chance to achieve impressive results in 2021, he was able to reflect on some “hidden wins” that represented steps in the right direction. The young German driver pinpoints to the Turkish Grand Prix, when he reached Q2 based on merit, and Qatar in the final third of the campaign as particularly strong weekends for him.
Of Qatar, Mick Schumacher said: “We knew we wouldn’t be the most competitive but actually we were much closer than expected. Those moments are where we gained a lot because of car changes we made. If we look further, obviously Turkey. Maybe it was a race that didn’t go to plan, but definitely a qualifying that did. Or the Budapest race, which was one of the strongest we had. We were able to fight with Max [Verstappen] even if his car was damaged. So there are hidden wins out there. It’s those hidden wins we took the most energy from and put it into good effort and good work.” – the Ferrari junior concluded.
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