Formula 1 – Mick Schumacher: Happy about every mistake

Ask: Mick Schumacher, what rating would you give your first season in Formula 1?

Mick Schumacher: If you don’t look at the results, just look at the development from weekend to weekend, I think it went well.

Ask: A grade of 2 is good.

Schumacher: Yes, I would sign that. I am happy with the work we have done for the first year. But it is also clear: if you look at the results, the coming season has to be better.

Ask: Was the step into Formula 1 easier for you because you were in the pit lane as a child when your father Michael drove?

Schumacher: Yes, I have to say that I was very well prepared. Of course, that also has something to do with my childhood. I was already at my father’s meetings back then and knew how a driver works on a race weekend. But of course I still learned a lot of new things.

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Ask: For example?

Schumacher: I got a much better understanding of the tires. It’s a process every young driver goes through. With every training session and every race you get a better sense of how far you can push them to the limit and still keep the tires as long as possible.

Ask: What was very different from what you expected?

Schumacher: I would have thought that Formula 1 would be a lot more stressful. Even Thursday, when we drivers have a lot of interview appointments and press conferences, is okay. Also the difference in the trips compared to the junior classes (mostly Europe; d. Red.) is manageable. It doesn’t make that big a difference to me whether it’s a short flight or a long trip halfway around the world. I can sleep quite well on the plane anyway.

Ask: What was the most important lesson you learned?

Schumacher: There was no such thing as that one collision or one failure that shocked me. I have developed myself through various situations over the past year. Driving and personal. I’m not the same Mick I was before the season. But I’m not the same Mick anymore as I was yesterday. I’m evolving every hour. I take most away from situations on the track.

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From the private archive: Schumacher with his children Mick and Gina-Maria

Ask: Give us an example!

Schumacher: The race in Hungary was a highlight. To duel with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen for points and not just lap them, that was a great feeling. Especially the duel with Max, in which we went wheel to wheel through the bend. That’s where you learn how high the level is in Formula 1. I want to have such duels more often in the future! Unfortunately we didn’t have the car for it this year.

Ask: How important is Sebastian Vettel for you in the learning process?

Schumacher: Together with Esteban Ocon, he is my closest confidante in the field of drivers. Sebastian helps me a lot. Seb is the mentor to me that my father was to him. Spending time with him is nice. If we’re not in the garage too long, we go out to eat together in the evening. In his 15 years in Formula 1, he has built up a very good network of restaurants. I learn a lot from him there too (laughs).

Ask: You have dominated your team-mate Nikita Masepin all season and won 20 of 22 qualifying duels. Only in the stable duel between Gasly and the Japanese Tsunoda at Alpha Tauri (21: 1) was the balance even clearer. Many experts say that with a stronger teammate you could have done a lot more. Do you agree?

Head to head race

Mick Schumacher (left) tire on tire with his Haas colleague Nikita Masepin

Source: dpa-infocom GmbH

Schumacher: Before the season started, the team made the decision to start the season with two young drivers, and I’m behind that.

Ask: You made mistakes too, most recently in Saudi Arabia when you were eliminated …

Schumacher: … and that’s a good thing with a driver who drives his first season! Mistakes make me understand the car even better. That’s why I’m happy for every mistake I’ve made, even if it sounds strange. That was a teaching season for me. I won’t do any faux pas from this season again next season. At least I hope so. Because then we don’t want to just follow, we want to attack.

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Ask: What’s in the new regulations for Haas?

Schumacher: I hope for a lot. We want a competitive car so that we can regularly take part in the battle for points. For that we have to be more constant. Our goal is to get in the top third of Q2 or even in the top 10 in qualifying.

Ask: Your contract expires in 2022. Will the next season be about qualifying for a top team?

Schumacher: In principle, every driver is always about developing himself further and recommending himself to a top team.

Ask: Jean Todt, who won five titles at Ferrari with your father, is about to return to Scuderia. Would that be an advantage for you as a Ferrari sponsored driver?

Schumacher: You would have to ask Jean Todt that, if that came about. But it is certainly not a disadvantage to have a direct line to someone with this knowledge and experience. Jean has been helping me a lot for years.

Spanish Formula One Grand Prix: Race

Photo from 2013: Jean Todt (r.) With Mick Schumacher’s father Michael

Quelle: Getty Images/Paul Gilham

The interview was conducted for the sports competence center (WELT, “Sport Bild”, “Bild”) and was first published in “Sport Bild”.




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