Abu Dhabi (dpa) – Mick Schumacher didn’t want to hear about nervousness after his long-awaited Formula 1 debut.
“It’s a long-cherished dream come true for me now,” said the 21-year-old in a clear voice. Shortly before, the young driver officially drove the car of his new employer Haas during the first practice of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. “It is very nice to know that I will be driving here next year,” said Schumacher, who will be the new regular driver for the US racing team from 2021.
Before the last race of the season, Schumacher was able to experience what awaits him week after week in the future. We ate beans and omelets for breakfast at the hotel, then left shortly after 1:00 pm local time. “I was just looking forward to the day,” said the son of Formula 1 record champion Michael Schumacher. He did not sleep badly, he had prepared too carefully for everything to come. And there was much praise for this attitude.
“The first time in a Formula 1 car is difficult, but he did a great job,” said team principal Günther Steiner. Schumacher implemented exactly what was asked of him. “He’s very calm and very professional. The engineers can talk to him about anything,” said Steiner, who almost had to slow down his new driver. Schumacher wants to absorb everything and is open to everyone. “I can be myself now,” said Schumacher, who will continue to live in Switzerland, and formulated his goals: “I want to develop as a driver. I want to make us a small family here.”
They are words that remind you of his father. Schumacher junior also prefers to get everyone involved so that everyone can fight hard together to make their dreams come true. For the Haas backbenchers, things should definitely move forward. Schumacher was only signed a week ago – and already arouses a spirit of optimism. Of course, the youngster also knows that he certainly cannot perform miracles in the car. “You have to keep your expectations realistic,” he said. Long-term racing alone in Formula 1 is certainly not for the young man with the big name.
The fact that a Schumacher suddenly appears on the result boards next to Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton, leaves no one indifferent. The debutant was the first to take 18th place, in 1: 41.235 minutes he was 3.857 seconds behind the fastest Max Verstappen in the Red Bull in the United Arab Emirates. Schumacher drove a total of 23 laps without incident. “It was exciting to be on the track with everyone,” he said. In the future he will start with the number 47, at the premiere the 50 was still on his racing car.
Formula 2 champion Schumacher drove the car of the current regular driver Kevin Magnussen. He has to collect data, get to know the processes and perform various tasks. It wasn’t about lap times yet. The Dane Magnussen then completed the rest of the weekend as planned, while Schumacher slipped into the observer role one last time. “I’m sure I won’t get bored so quickly,” he said, and also made a difference to his previous car: “Of course it’s much faster now.”
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Schumacher should have completed an official Alfa Romeo training at the Nürburgring, but bad weather prevented that in October. Such problems did not arise in the sun around the Abu Dhabi marina. Schumacher will step into the cockpit there on Tuesday for the last time this year.
Then the test for young drivers must take place. It’s about “getting better, understanding the technology,” Steiner said, “you have to use every round to learn.” The Italian has no doubts that Schumacher is ready. A visit to the team factory in England is also planned, but due to the Corona crisis, it is not so easy to carry out. “We still have to plan this all,” said Sky’s Steiner.