CIRCUIT ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 02: Mick Schumacher, Haas F1 Team during the Dutch GP at Circuit Zandvoort on Friday September 02, 2022 in North Holland, Netherlands. (Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images)

Inside Line: End of Mick Schumacher’s sad F1 career?

CIRCUIT ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 02: Mick Schumacher, Haas F1 Team during the Dutch GP at Circuit Zandvoort on Friday September 02, 2022 in North Holland, Netherlands. (Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images)

I was sad to watch Mick Schumacher qualify last for the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix while his veteran teammate Kevin Magnussen stuck the Haas on pole position for today’s Sprint Race at Interlagos.

Sad for Michael Schumacher’s talented but grossly mismanaged son, sad for what should have been, but wasn’t, had he not been ill-advised by the army of self-appointed ‘F1 Illuminati’ who all failed him and with it doomed him to the plight he finds himself in now.

On Friday afternoon in Brazil, when it mattered, a tricky Q1 Qualifying session turned into a roulette as the weather threw in a pack of jokers, which caught many out, including young Mick but not his teammate K-Mag.

Today for the Sprint Race, half the Haas mechanics will push #20 car the ‘long way’ to P1 on the grid, while the other half will line the #47 car in the all too familiar P20 on the grid, shining a very cruel spotlight on Schumacher whose career in F1 has appeared doomed for some time now.

The fact that Ferrari and Haas have held out until this late to announce a driver, suggests they have alternative plans for Mick as Mattia Binotto will have the final say but paddock gossip is that Nico Hulkenberg is all but a done deal for next season with Haas.

The sad part of Schumacher’s demise is how Michael Schumacher’s son was so ill-advised to accept a drive with Haas for his rookie Formula 1 season last year.

We on this site have harped on before day one of that deal going through that it was a big mistake, and again in retrospect, it is clear as crystal to me that his minders, advisors, friends, foes and family [think of the names on that list!] did not warn him against a move to Haas under Guenther Steiner, becoming teammate to the hapless Nikita Mazepin.

Mick Schumacher was selling merchandise online when he was still in F2

Jens Munser Designs on Twitter: "The helmet design of Mick Schumacher for the #BrazilGP is based on his 2005 karting helmet. https://t.co/8HUlYYxOEl" / Twitter

As a result, 2021 was a disaster from day one as the Schumi-III marketing machine was already in full flight; Mick was in F2 and already he had an online shop selling merchandise at every opportunity. Helmets, car replicas t-shirts. Cool idea but way too soon, this was Mick, not Michael!

The problem is everyone on the Schumi-gravy train was in a great hurry to revive the mega-Schumacher brand through the clean-cut son and only F1 would boost sales. That was probably the thinking behind his marketing team.

Flogging merch is a big earner apparently, as what could be Mick’s final days of F1 approach, in the Haas team preview of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, he was flogging stuff.

I kid you not, one of the press release questions was: For the São Paulo Grand Prix you will be showcasing another one-off design, this time with a special cause in mind. Can you share more?

Schumi obliged: “Yes, for the São Paulo Grand Prix I’ll be wearing another one-off helmet design. In collaboration with our team partner, 1&1, I will be donating my helmet to RTL’s annual ‘Spendenmarathon’ telethon as an auction prize, with all money raised going to selected children’s aid projects.

“The RTL broadcast team will have a replica helmet on display during their broadcast this weekend to promote the upcoming auction. I won’t spoil the surprise so you’ll have to wait to see it, but as always, I worked with Jens Munser who does all my designs.”

Not a great deal of imagination to spot the unashamed ‘product placement’ happening with those two simple paragraphs, because for sure they will be flogging mini-replicas of his lids for sale online at the Mick Schumacher Official Webshop, which makes me wonder if ‘unofficial’ Mick shops are sprouting up all over the place… Not according to Google.

Mick’s 2021 rookie season at Haas was a shitshow from day one

Schumacher: Not extremely annoyed about any mistake

Thus, no big surprise, when the Haas option came about after Mick claimed the 2020 F2 title and he had the F3 title two years earlier, Ferrari dictated wrongly that the German should go to the Steiner-led shitshow of the time with Mazepin his benchmark, while inexplicably keeping lost cause Antonio Giovinazzi in a cozy seat at Alfa Romeo with Kimi Raikkonen. We know how that turned out!

Obvious thinking even back then, was switching non-performing Giovinazzi to Haas which would have been his last-ditch chance to revive the Italian’s career, while Schumi under Fred Vasseur was the no-brainer, that those at Ferrari, supposedly with the brains, ignored. And we have what we have now.

A 23-year-old, over-driving, under-driving, lost at sea as he goes through the motions of his final races in F1 dazed and confused by vanished confidence, a team who wonder every time he leaves the pits if it will be a late night or not. Basically everything that goes wrong when a young talent is mismanaged, went wrong for Schumacher.

To be fair, Schumacher’s 2021 F1 season was bullshit. For argument’s sake, let’s forget last year. Even as a rookie this year, measured against Magnussen, whose largely been a journeyman until his return this season, Mick has not delivered in the manner in which other young guns have. eg. Norris destroying Ricciardo and Verstappen bettering Perez currently; and a couple of seasons ago, when Leclerc dispatched Vettel.

Even compared to Alfa Romeo’s rookie Zhou Guanyu, who benefitted from Fred Vassuer’s massive experience developing drivers for big teams, is a far better prospect than Schumacher. Think about it, who would you pick between the pair for another year in F1?

Mick qualifying last in Sao Paulo with teammate K-Mag on pole is the cruelest blow of all

Mick Schumacher: Bernie Ecclestone erwartet Aus in der Formel 1 - 20 Minuten

In my book, Friday was doomsday for Schumacher or at least a day when his ‘F1 shares’ plunged even further, and while his current chapter in F1 is probably over, it is certainly not the end of the road, as many drivers have taken a sabbatical and come back better; Alex Albon had a reset and reload season and look how he is shining at Williams.

Ditto Fernando Alonso after his rookie year in 2001 with Minardi, he sat out the next season and returned in 2003 with Renault to etch his name into the sport’s history, and at 41, is still at the top of his game.

If Ferrari do pull the plug on Mick’s F1 backing, they have a huge menu of sumptuous offerings for him to tuck into, including their upcoming Le Mans and WEC Hypercar programme, as well satellite teams in DTM.

Series’ where Mick would rack up experience, to rebuild, gain experience and perhaps get a second crack at F1, hopefully without the rush and pressure to sell the brand.

To Mick’s many mentors and Michael’s mates, who should all have the ear of his mother Corinna Schumacher, but watched young Schumi step into a Haas for his rookie season, all keeping quiet as Ferrari made outrageously bad decisions, I ask:

Where was Jean Todt? Where was Sebastian Vettel? Where was Ralf Schumacher? Where was Bernie Ecclestone? Where was Flavio Briatore? Where was Willi Weber? Where was Felipe Massa? Where was Rubens Barrichello? Where was Ross Brawn? Where was Rory Byrne? Where was Luca di Montezemolo?

And where the hell was the German media? Shame on you all.

One thing is sure, Michael Schumacher would not have allowed his son to race for Haas as a rookie, something tells me that, after all, he was the shrewdest of them all, that’s why he hopped, skipped and jumped from Jordan to Benetton in the matter of two weekends to ignite the legend he became.

It breaks my heart to say this but – for the sake of his son – one has to: “Michael, I wish you were here.”

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