Michael Schumacher’s son, Mick, has insisted it is his efforts as a driver that count, not the illustrious family name. Schumacher was speaking at the Eifel Grand Prix where he was disappointed that bad weather prevented him from making his Formula One debut in practice at the Nürburgring.
Schumacher, a member of the Ferrari academy, was due to drive for Alfa Romeo but rain and fog prevented any running in both practice sessions on Friday. The 21-year-old currently leads the F2 championship from Britain’s Callum Ilott, with four races remaining.
“The pressure is always there no matter what your name is,” he said. “You want to show yourself and do a good job but my name won’t put me to the top of the championship, it is the achievements, the work with the team behind the scenes that is important.”
Schumacher’s father, the seven-time world champion who is in recovery from the skiing accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury in 2013, won five times at the Nürburgring and Schumacher’s F1 debut in Germany had been highly anticipated. However, with adverse conditions and the medical helicopter unable to fly, the pitlane remained closed all day. “It’s been very special to be here. I would have loved to get out and drive in front of the fans,” he said. “But we knew that the weather forecast didn’t look great.”
Schumacher would not confirm whether driving in another F1 practice session was planned. Six races remain but he remained hopeful. “Any opportunity would be great to hop into the car,” he said. “F1 is the goal and F1 is the dream.”
Ilott, also a Ferrari academy driver was due to test for Haas. Both remain strong candidates for promotion to F1. Neither Haas, a Ferrari customer team, nor Alfa Romeo, the Scuderia’s junior team, have confirmed their lineups for 2021.
After a team member tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, Mercedes announced a second had also been identified with the virus on Friday. Four other team members who tested negative but were part of the same social bubble have now been isolated and will not take part in the race weekend. Mercedes has flown out six new personnel to fill their roles. The team members have not been identified but were not what the FIA refers to as “known persons” – those with a high public profile and therefore less likely to hold a senior position.
That there was no running on track was no great surprise given the Nürburgring’s location in the Eifel mountains and that it is mid-October. Two weeks ago, the Nürburgring 24 hours was suspended for nine hours due to similar conditions. It does, however, lend urgency and intensity to Saturday’s only practice session and qualifying. With teams having less time to evaluate the cars on a circuit F1 has not visited since 2013 there is potential for the pecking order to be upset.