Mick Schumacher’s start to life in Formula 1 has been somewhat of a baptism of fire, but he is looking forward to the remainder of the 2022 season that could see him establish himself as one of Formula 1’s brightest stars of the future.
Haas went scoreless in 2021 for the first time since they entered the sport in 2016 – that entry was ironically a year after the last time any team had suffered the same ignominy when Manor Marussia failed to score points in 2015.
Having managed just three points in 2020 and a worse season anticipated in 2021, everything changed as Formula 1 embarked on last season.
Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were replaced by rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, with the German out-qualifying Mazepin 20-2 over the course of the season.
Such was the pace deficit that the Russian had to his team-mate that we did not truly see the extent of Schumacher’s talent. Is he able to live up to his father’s great legacy?
This year though, we will get a much more conclusive idea as, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mazepin was sacked over the winter and replaced by the returning Magnussen, who has made a splendid start to the year.
He has notched his tally up to 37 points finishes in his career in the first two rounds of the 2022 season as Haas’ developmental work in 2021 appears to have paid off as the pinnacle of motorsport enters a new era of technical regulations.
Schumacher has been unable to get himself on the board yet, but his pace has hardly been a million miles away from that of the 29-year-old, so he feels as though he has made progress from Haas’ write-off year last season.
“I feel like I’ve grown, and I feel like I’ve made a step,” he told RacingNews365.com.
“Hopefully that’s enough to race competitively and do the job that is necessary.
“I feel that [I’ve] been able to improve in every aspect, and there is not a special thing now that I would say stands out.”
A particular pattern of Schumacher’s career thus far has been his adaptability to new series, which has often taken a year.
He claimed a single podium finish in European F3 in 2017 with Prema, ending the championship 12th, but he would then take eight wins and 14 podiums in the same class a year later, earning himself the championship.
A much similar scenario ensued upon his move up to F2 in 2019 as Nyck De Vries claimed the title, before Schumacher managed the same feat a year later.
Though it has at times taken him a bit of time to learn the ropes, the 23-year-old insists that 2017 and 2019 were by no means bad seasons for him.
“Yes, we’ve seen that in the past, but it’s not that my first years have been bad. Sometimes I was a bit unlucky, sometimes it just wasn’t meant to be,” he explained.
Despite Haas’ abysmal performance last year, Schumacher believes that it was a vital season for his personal development, and driving a largely Ferrari-based chassis will have done no harm to his aspirations of one day driving for the Scuderia.
“I think the last year was a very positive year. How much I’m able to improve this year, it’s going be really interesting to see,” he added.
“I feel I have all the tools I need to do that step, and if the car helps in that specific role, then I’m sure that we will have a positive year.”
If there is a Ferrari seat awaiting him in the future, he is not allowing his gaze to travel that far, instead insisting that his only plan is “driving fast.”
As for his partnership with Magnussen, the Dane previously remarked that he enjoyed working with Jenson Button at McLaren and Romain Grosjean at Haas due to their direct, unpolitical approach.
There has been no concealment of information at the Banbury squad this year either.
“We’ve been in constant exchange,” Schumacher divulged.
“He’s very mature, and that’s something I would say for myself as well, so I think that that side really works well together.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to give the right feedback to move forwards and essentially make the team faster.
“You want to try and do good, and to show that you do good is to beat your teammate, so that’s my goal, and I think that’s quite clear to everybody.”