MANAMA (Reuters) – Mick Schumacher, son of seven times world champion Michael, made his Formula One test debut with Ferrari yesterday at the Bahrain circuit, where 15 years ago his father won the first grand prix in the Middle East.
The 20-year-old European F3 champion made his Formula Two debut at the Sakhir circuit over the weekend, finishing eighth and sixth in the two races.
The German, whose father won the Bahrain Grand Prix from pole position in a Ferrari one-two on April 4, 2004, will also test with the Ferrari-powered Alfa Romeo team (formerly Sauber) today.
Yesterday’s test in the SF90 was Mick’s first experience of a modern F1 car, although he did drive his father’s 1994 title-winning Benetton at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit before the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix.
“Obviously, with the name and being the son of Michael, there’s certainly some links and expectations,” four times champion and current Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel said last week.
“The way he has developed in the last years, he deserves where he is now. Now we should give him the time and the peace to do his job.”
Michael Schumacher, who still holds the record of 91 grand prix wins, won five of his titles with Ferrari in a golden period from 2000 to 2004. He left the team in 2006 before a comeback with Mercedes from 2010-12.
Schumacher senior has not been seen in public since he suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps in December 2013. He turned 50 in January.
Mick, who joined the Ferrari academy in January, was the only debutant on track in a rain-hit opening session that followed Sunday’s second grand prix of the season.
They were joined by double world champion Fernando Alonso, who left Formula One at the end of last season but was back in a McLaren testing tyres for Pirelli.
On Sunday, five times world champion Lewis Hamilton took a lucky Bahrain Grand Prix win for Mercedes after engine trouble in the dying stages denied Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc a first Formula One victory.
Leclerc had looked like becoming Ferrari’s youngest ever race winner, at 21, after starting on pole position and leading comfortably. Instead, he ended up third.
Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, lapping far faster than the stricken Ferrari, reeled him in and breezed past to secure the team’s second one-two finish in as many races and against the odds.