In Formula 1 there is nowhere to hide. A driver can busk it for a year or two but soon you have a feeling if a kid has it or not, right now more and more questions are being asked of Mick Schumacher; nicknamed the Crash Kid by his Formula 1 peers.
Top of the list of questions: Is Mick the real deal?
For sure he is not a sliver of what his father was. I will stand up and say that without a shadow of a doubt, and I am not alone. It’s tough going on record with Schumacher junior’s glaring shortcomings and has not been common in the media who have cut him more slack than most drivers get for woeful performances.
But things changed when Michael’s 23-year-old son crashed heavily at Monaco, for a split second – as the car snapped viciously in half – like the F1TV producer who immediately panned out the scene, I thought he might be dead – that’s how I am wired – until we got confirmation that he walked away from another almighty prang. His poor Mom, I thought…
Granted, it was far worse than it looked but at the same a decade or so ago we would have buried a 23-year-old this week. As a moderately superstitious guy, that was a message to me. This Kid must be closing in on his nine lives.
We all know that father Michael would have never condoned his son making his debut at the shitshow that was Haas last year, a season that did his son more damage than good. Huge waste of time.
Ferrari are to blame for countenancing Haas for Schumi alongside pay driver Nikita Mazepin
Ferrari could have put no hope Antonio Giovinazzi in the Haas led by clueless (driver development person) Guenther Steiner and measuring up the Russian rookie while putting little Schumacher at Alfa Romeo alongside Kimi Raikkonen and under the astute eye for talent Fred Vasseur.
The choice was blatant, yet Ferrari dropped the ball yet again.
Hence Schumacher is being shown up by F1 comeback veteran Kevin Magnussen – a strong journeyman and midpack driver – who has yet to find his A-Game since his surprise recall.
Alongside the 29-year-old Dane, Baby Schumi is looking like a rookie again and driving like one too! Especially if you consider how Yuki Tsunoda turned himself from an incident prone rookie from last year to a much more solid driver this season. His evolution as an F1 driver curve is upwardly mobile and also a benchmark.
As mentioned, I’m not alone in these observations and assertions as some heavy hitters in the German media are starting to see the light (or not see it in Mick’s case) and are making some painful observations.
Speaking after the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, F1 veteran, Norbert Haug told RND: “It’s not Mick Schumacher’s nature to want too much too quickly.
“But crashing Monaco twice in a row in two years doesn’t lead to a positive exclamation mark in the team bosses’ notebooks, but rather to a question mark.
“Mick will achieve more with less in the future, pushing too much never leads to desired results. But Mick is intelligent and talented enough to learn that lesson. I’m sure you’ll see points from him soon,” was Haug’s escape clause!
Röhrl: Mick Schumacher doesn’t have the outstanding talent his father had
In fact, Mick is such a good kid, ticks every box just about… the ‘Race Winner Potential’ box has not got tick yet and right now don’t see it.
German motorsport legend Walter Röhrl told Express: “There are expectations that he has to be the big star. It’s hard and heavy, but he doesn’t have the outstanding talent his father had; Michael was at the front right away.
Famously, Michael Schumacher made his Grand Prix debut and put midfield Jordan seventh on the grid; a bit like Mick putting the Haas in Q3 on his debut. He didn’t, he was 19th. Had he, he would be a Ferrari driver today.
Instead, his future at Haas is being questioned, Steiner is increasingly motormouthed in his criticism, while Magnussen rightfully takes the glory and thunder while delivering results; and making a Legend’s son look ordinary.
The stats do Mick no favours: no points in the previous seven races and two crashes expected to cost north of a million dollars each. K-Mag in the other car has 15 points and can be found flinging the Haas at the sharper end of proceedings.
Röhrl continued: “This is currently bitter for Mick, because Magnussen, who returned to Formula 1 after a year’s break, has him well under control. That puts additional pressure on him, brings explosiveness to the team and doesn’t make it any easier.”
Tost: A driver needs at least three years of learning to drive at the top level
Of course, there is huge support for Mick and Schumacher’s legacy within F1 and the paddock, including AlphaTauri Franz Tost who still has hope and some advice: “He has to drive somewhere else for another three years.
“A driver needs at least three years of learning to drive at the top level. George Russell or Charles Leclerc also needed that time.”
Ferrari promised and did roll out the Red Carpet for Mick. The goal to get him at Maranello one day to emulate his Dad no doubt is the script the Italians wish for.
But on the Red Carpet, Schumacher ain’t delivering and by December we will know if he is the Real Deal for F1 or not. Sadly, I am thinking not, the remaining races, from Baku this Sunday on, will again offer no hiding place and either prove me wrong or not.
As for what Schumacher has to do to convince with immediate effect, Tost’s advice was spot-on: “He has to beat his teammate Kevin Magnussen at Haas and try to be successful with Haas. That’s his job now and nothing else.”