Formula 1: Mick Schumacher really has just one job

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Formula 1 (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images)
Mick Schumacher, Haas, Formula 1 (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images) /

Mick Schumacher is set to carry on his father’s legacy and compete in Formula 1 in 2021, but despite the pressure of carrying the family name, he really has just one job.

For the first time in nearly a decade and 17 years after Michael Schumacher won his record fifth consecutive and record seventh overall Formula 1 world championship, the Schumacher name is back in Formula 1.

Mick, Michael’s son, is set to compete for Haas throughout the upcoming 23-race 2021 season after winning the 2018 Formula 3 European title and the 2020 Formula 2 title.

Like anybody who has a “name” in racing, Mick has already faced scrutiny from some fans, but even amid the criticism, there has been far more respect and admiration toward him having a place at the sport’s highest level than anything, especially given the years-long ongoing uncertainty about his father’s condition.

With that being said, now it starts to count, and that respect and admiration will only do so much when the racing actually starts — especially if there is a lack of solid performance.

More from Formula One

Fortunately for the 21-year-old German, the pressure on him specifically has been lessened given the train wreck of a team for which he is slated to drive. I’m not sure that anybody with any reasonable expectations expects him to score points in 2021, save for maybe a fluke top 10 finish here and there.

And the train wreck concept goes well beyond the expected backmarker pace of the VF-21. Haas have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons over the last several months, seemingly picking up right where they left off when William Storey and Rich Energy finally left the picture following a premature termination to a disastrous title sponsorship deal in September 2019.

The sport’s lone American team hired Nikita Mazepin to drive alongside Schumacher, and Mazepin’s past, both on and off the track, is a checkered one to say the very least — and we don’t mean it’s littered with checkered flags.

Due to extended coverage elsewhere on our site, we’ll keep this part brief.

Trending. Concerning development to Nikita Mazepin situation. light

Just days after signing his Haas deal, Mazepin got himself into more hot water with an “abhorrent” Instagram video.

But anybody who knew anything about why Haas signed him (which we all should have, seeing as how they admitted it was due to his father’s money from day one) knew that this wouldn’t lead to anything but the typical PR stuff you see to appease certain people (like deleting a Twitter apology) when somebody messes up and knows there won’t be any consequences.

Mazepin is quite experienced in that category for a 22-year-old, with his billionaire father Dmitry, who serves the majority shareholder and chair of Uralkali, funding his racing career.

But the train wreck didn’t stop there. Although the Russian flag is banned from sporting events for the next two years, Dmitry came to the rescue yet again, and the VF-21 was basically designed after a Russian flag. In fact, in several areas of the car, you can literally cut out a Russian flag. That immediately rose eyebrows, and I’m not just talking about the Twitter trolls.

light. Related Story. Haas livery being investigated

So as bizarre as it may seem, the Schumacher name returning to Formula 1 is a “maybe” when it comes to the top three storylines for Haas entering the new season.

But at some point, that is going to change, and when it does, Mick needs to be ready.

He is known for learning as much as he can in year one and excelling in year two. He did it in both the Formula 3 European Championship and in Formula 2, finishing in 12th place in the driver standings in his first seasons in both and winning the championships in his second.

That is ultimately the goal for him this season: to learn as much as he can ahead of the 2022 campaign when the team should at least be a bit stronger, considering they don’t even really plan to develop their 2021 challenger.

But with points probably out of the picture and a reasonable ceiling for him in any given race being probably around 14th or 15th place, he really only has one job from a competition standpoint: to beat Mazepin.

Of course, every driver wants to beat his teammate, but this is especially important when considering Schumacher is who he is, coupled with the fact that the key focus surrounding Haas entering the season is what it is.

Schumacher has done it many times before. In the three times they’ve competed in the same series over the last four seasons, Schumacher finished higher in points.

But now they’re both at the top level of the sport, they’re both rookies, and they’re both in the same equipment.

Sure, there will be some doubters who say that, if he does beat his teammate, “it’s only Mazepin”, considering the fact that Mazepin has had very limited success throughout his Uralkali-funded racing career.

But if that’s the worst-case scenario, so be it. It’s a heck of a lot better than getting beaten by him, in which case the whole “name” scrutiny would be much more than the critics had dished out in the preseason.

And suddenly some of the negative energy surrounding Haas entering the 2021 season will be directed at that name.

Next. Top 25 Formula 1 drivers of all-time. dark

The 2021 season is scheduled to get underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, March 28. This race is set to be broadcast live from Bahrain International Circuit on ESPN beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET.