Mick Schumacher is motivated by the pride that comes with continuing his father’s Formula One legacy.
The 21-year-old son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher will be on the grid for the season-opening race in Bahrain later this month with American team Haas.
It will mark the return of the Schumacher name to the sport, nine years after the German retired, and 30 years since Michael burst on to the scene with an impressive debut for Jordan at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix.
Schumacher went on to win 91 times for Benetton and Ferrari, clinching five titles for the Scuderia at the turn of the century.
His number of wins was surpassed by Sir Lewis Hamilton last year. The Mercedes driver is this season bidding to win an unprecedented eighth title.
Schumacher, 52, has not been seen in public view for more than seven years after a skiing accident in the French Alps left him with devastating brain injuries. His son, Mick, was alongside him at the time of the tragic accident.
“I have never said that carrying the family name is pressure, and I am pretty sure I will never say that because I am very happy to carry that name back into Formula One,” said Schumacher at Haas’ 2021 launch.
“I am very proud of it. It is a boost for me and it gives me motivation every single day to work as much as I can and work as hard as I can.
“I will try to improve in every aspect – that is what I want to do – and I will work my arse off for that and give everything I have.”
Schumacher’s medical condition has been held a closely-guarded secret. FIA president Jean Todt is among just a handful of people to visit Schumacher’s Lake Geneva home.
In a rare update last year, the Frenchman, who oversaw five of the German’s seven titles as team principal for Ferrari, said that his former driver “is fighting”.
Todt added: “He has an amazing wife next to him, he has his kids, his nurses, and we can only wish him the best and to wish the family the best, too.”
Schumacher arrives in F1 after winning its feeder series, Formula Two, last season. His debut will come 17 years after his father claimed victory at the first grand prix to be staged in the Gulf Kingdom.
“The first Bahrain race took place in 2004 and my father won there, so I definitely have good memories of that,” added Schumacher, who will team up with Russian rookie Nikita Mazepin at Haas this year.
“There is a corridor which runs to the track that is filled with photographs and memories. My dad is on there which is nice to see and very special.”