Mick Schumacher has been following in his father’s footsteps and wheel tracks even more closely than usual this week.
The 18-year-old is currently competing in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Prema. But on Wednesday, he was spotted behind the wheel of his father’s 1994 title winning car.
He was trying out the Benetton-Ford B194 for size at Spa-Francorchamps. He’s slated to take the car for a special exhibition drive at the circuit in two weeks time.
He’ll be delighting crowds attending the Belgian Grand Prix an hour before the start of the race. The run is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Michael Schumacher’s first Grand Prix career win, here at Spa in 1992.
Schumacher went on to take part in a total of 306 races. He claimed 68 pole positions, 91 race wins and seven world championships before retiring at the end of 2012.
The B194 is usually safely stored away at the Michael Schumacher Museum, but was entrusted to his son’s care for the private test. Mick Schumacher wore a plain black helmet helping to keep his identity hidden as he took the car for some shakedown laps.
The secret was eventually uncovered by Belgian website DHnet.be, which reported the test on Saturday.
The outing allowed him to get a feel for how an F1 car performs on one of the sport’s most iconic circuits. Mick wasn’t even born when his father first took to the track in the Benetton.
The teen was quoted as saying that his ultimate ambition was to follow his father into Formula 1 in the next few years. Certainly, Wednesday’s outing at Spa can only have heightened that aim.
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“I love driving, that’s why I do it – and not because of my name,” Mick told Canal Sport recently. “I feel no pressure. Maybe that’s what some would like, but I do what I have to do. I drive, and that’s it.”
Michael Schumacher continues to recover from injuries sustained in a skiing accident in December 2013 in the French Alps. He fell and hit his head on a rock, sustaining a serious head injury despite wearing a ski helmet.
The family has maintained their privacy over Schumacher’s condition since he was released from hospital in 2014. He was moved to his home in Gland, on the shores of Lake Geneva 40km from Lausanne where he continues to recuperate.
“Michael has consistently drawn a clear line between the public and the private, which has always been accepted by the fans and the media,” said Schumacher’s personal manager Sabine Kehm in May: “The decision to protect his privacy from the public has been taken in Michael’s interest.”
Mick, then 14, was with his father at the time of the accident. Since then he’s gone on to start forging his own successful career in motorsports.
He was snapped by tabloid photographers on Thursday attending the FEI World Reining Championships in Switzerland with his mother Corinna.
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