Mick Schumacher generated huge amounts of media interest on Wednesday. The teenage son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher began official testing before his Formula Four Junior Series debut.
Cameras followed the shy 16-year-old wherever he went at the Motor sport Arena Oschersleben, between Hanover and Berlin, as he tested with Team Van Amersfoort of the Netherlands.
Schumacher Jr is set to make his junior series debut in the opener to the eight-race season on April 26, also at Oschersleben.
His father is still recovering from serious head injuries suffered in a skiing accident in December 2013 and Oschersleben is the same track where Michael Schumacher drove his first official motorbike race in 2008.
“The hype was big back then, so it’s nice that his son is here now,” said Dieter Young, sports director of ADAC, who are sponsoring the junior series.
Schmacher Jr was seventh in the first testing session when “25 SCM” flashed up on the results monitors, but improved in the second to end up fifth and nearly two seconds behind the leader.
No other driver in the 42-strong field received anywhere near as much attention as the blond-haired, blue-eyed teenager who climbed into the car with “M. Schumacher” on the side.
Perhaps there was too much interest, according to Sabine Kehm, Michael Schumacher’s manager and confidant for the last 15 years, who appealed for calm from the waiting media as she shielded Schumacher Jr. “I’d like to ask that the expectations on Mick aren’t build up too high,” she said.
The teenager, who has a successful karting career behind him, calmly appeared to absorb every bit of advice given to him from his pit, especially when a mechanic showed him testing data on a laptop.
The cars at this level are 100 kg heavier than the carts Schumacher Jr is used to, with engines pumping out an extra 130hp of power. Schumacher Jr’s neon yellow helmet stayed on most of the day, an understandably welcome barrier from the eyes of the watching media.
“I think he’ll keep his helmet on today,” said Kehm with a smile.