Tuscan Grand Prix – German media are reporting that Mick Schumacher will take part in the first practice session at Mugello this weekend.
Ferrari’s Academy Driver Mick Schumacher could be set to take part in this weekend’s first practice at Mugello. The weekend is Ferrari’s 1000th Grand Prix, and is set to be a celebration of all things Ferrari, and Mick Schumacher’s recent run of form seems to have given the team cause to consider a step up in his career.
While an appearance from Mick would be a nostalgic celebration of his father’s tremendous career with Ferrari as the team’s most successful driver, there’s nothing nostalgic about Mick’s current competitiveness. The Prema F2 driver claimed his first win of the year at Monza last weekend, and has become a regular podium finisher – so much so, that he is now just six points away from the championship lead.
German broadcaster RTL are reporting that Mick Schumacher will drive this weekend in the first practice session, and that this will be for one of Ferrari’s customer teams Alfa Romeo or Haas. As it stands, Alfa Romeo is the more likely of the two – Alfa is the de facto ‘B-team’ for Ferrari, and have no seats filled for next season. Schumacher also tested for Alfa during a test at Bahrain’s Sakhir Circuit last season. Haas have also already released their planned schedule for this weekend, with no mention of Mick Schumacher. Alfa are yet to release their itinerary for the weekend.
Mick drove Ferrari’s SF71H during a test last year, and also appeared at the German Grand Prix to drive his dad’s F2004 around Hockenheim. An appearance at Mugello would be his first official participation in a Grand Prix weekend.
Speaking to Germany’s Bild, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto said: “His job was to improve and make progress. He’s doing that. We’ll soon discuss what we’re going to do with him next year.”
Binotto has already said that the promotion of a Ferrari Academy Driver from Formula 2, which includes Schumacher’s rivals Robert Schwartzman, Callum Ilott and Marcus Armstrong, will not be solely dependant on performance, suggesting that Schumacher’s name clout could play a part. This would have obvious benefits for sponsor procurement, marketability, and general public interest.
“I think this season in F2 we have great drivers.” Binotto said. “We have certainly even three drivers battling for the championship – Robert Shwartman, Callum Ilott and Mick. I think they are all doing very well. They are shown progress compared to last season. For Robert, it’s his very first season in F2 and normally when you are a rookie it’s certainly more difficult and I think that as a rookie he is doing very well. I think the other two as well are doing well at the moment.”
“Looking ahead, looking to next year, I think all of them merit a place into an F1 seat. But I think as well that the second half of the season will be the most important for them, especially for Robert, because he’s a rookie, let’s see how he will progress. Finally, will their performance be the only one? No, I think more important for a driver is to see he is developing and i think that he’s showing the capacity of developing himself and to make progress.”
Binotto says the next step for Schumacher is: “first of all a smaller Formula 1 team, where he can get to know everything and then slowly move up.”