This morning the Ferrari Driver Academy’s Mick Schumacher, last year’s Formula 2 champion, who will race with Haas F1 in Formula 1 this season, was back behind the wheel of the 2018 SF71H. The son of seven times world champion Michael completed around fifty more laps of Fiorano, bringing to a close the programme established by the Scuderia Ferrari engineers. Back in December, Mick was interviewed for the Racing Activities book, which has just been published. We bring it to you here exclusively.
What was 2020 like for you?
People who work in racing tend to look to the future and not back and that goes for me too. It’s a matter of mentality, because in such a competitive environment, we always think about what more we can do and how to do better. But perhaps in this case one can make an exception, but not based on personal reasons. The pandemic really affected everyone and created serious problems for a lot of people. That’s why it seems almost unfair for me to be happy about what 2020 was for me, because to be honest, it was the best year since I’ve been racing, the one in which the dream I’ve had since I was a kid came true. Now I can say I’m ready for Formula 1.
And yet, as the pandemic took hold it looked as though there might not be any racing this year.
It’s true that, at the start of the pandemic, when so many countries imposed an almost total lockdown, sport was quite rightly, not a priority. I was afraid my second season in Formula 2 would be put back a year and with it, my dream of getting to Formula 1. Then we started racing in Austria, but I had a really terrible start to the season. Twice I made the same mistake, so that I picked up very few points from the first two rounds.
What was the key moment of the season?
There wasn’t one in particular. The truth is that after the bad start, we didn’t lose heart because we knew we had worked well with my team Prema. We never lost faith in the idea that we could win and that’s what happened. We concentrated and stayed united, working hard to make up ground step by step. Commitment, self confidence, team work and enjoyment were the factors that saw us work our way back up the order and in the end win the title, thanks mainly to consistent results.
How did it feel to get the drive with the Haas F1 Team for 2021?
It was good to see that our approach and the results we got were rewarded like this and I have to thank the Ferrari Driver Academy for having faith in me, to the extent that the decision was taken even before the championship was decided. It was important to have the support of the FDA, to be able to drive Formula 1 cars, to speak with very experienced people and simply feel as though I was one of the family.
Winning the title was the perfect end to such a special season.
Even though I knew I was going to race in Formula 1, I absolutely wanted to win the title, which is normal isn’t it? You race, you want to win. I never lost the belief I could do it. Even if the last few races didn’t go as I’d have liked, I really wanted to be champion, for me and for the team. When I crossed the line at the end of the last race, in all sincerity I was not at all sure I had done it and part of me didn’t dare celebrate. Probably, these were the most intense moments of my career, to the extent that I when I got to parc ferme and saw the team cheering, I needed a few moments to realise what had happened.
Having taken a second title in 2020, there’s now a new season to think about.
That day seems a long time ago now, especially as I can’t wait for the new season to start, to be on the starting grid for my first race alongside the best drivers in the world. Up until then, I will try and enjoy myself and make sure I am prepared for that moment and then, when the lights go out, it will be very exciting.