Mick Schumacher: What Do We Know About Talented Son of F1 Champion Schumi?
Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time Formula One champion Michael, captured some headlines of his own last week after finishing second in the FIA KF Junior World Championship.
The highest level of junior karting, the event featured experienced youngsters from around the world battling it out at the Essay circuit.
In the grand final, Schumacher started eighth but quickly fought through the field to finish runner-up to Britain's Enaam Ahmed.
A nice story this one. Schumacher's son Mick, 15, is crowned world karting vice-champion in France. http://t.co/4NX393Xuk7— Phil Duncan (@PhilDuncanF1) September 23, 2014
Largely kept clear of the F1 circus as he was growing up, it's the first time in his 15 years that Mick has truly generated some headlines of his own.
If he decides to go further up the motorsport ladder, it won't be the last time.
We'll probably learn more in the future, but for now, what do we know about the youngest child of the seven-time world champion?
He Has a Good, but Not Mind-Blowing, Karting Record
His best karting result so far is second in KF Junior World Championship.
Per driverdb, he also won the 2014 German Junior Championship, having come third in the same series last year. He also secured Top Three finishes in the 2013 International Junior Super Cup, 2011 and 2012 European Wintercup and 2012 DMV Kart Championship.
In the class for even younger drivers, he won the 2010 Kerpener Kartchallenge.
It's a very good record, but not off-the-scale.
He's Well Aware of the Pressure His Name Brings
Mick is well aware of the pressure his name will bring throughout his career.
During his early karting career, he raced under the name "Mick Betsch," using his mother's maiden name.
It had long been clear this would be an issue. Speaking in 2003, Michael Schumacher was quoted in The Telegraph, saying of Mick's future:
If I could, I would prefer to steer him away from a racing track on to some golf course because I have seen with Jacques Villeneuve or Damon Hill, or even with my brother Ralf, what a burden a name can be, and I would not want him to be constantly compared with me or to not be able to establish his own name.
At the KF Junior championships, he used "Mick Junior."
But it's something he'll be used to dealing with—it will have been a part of his life growing up, and every child and teacher at his school will have known who his father is.
Maybe next year, he'll bring the great name back to motor racing.
He'll Never Need to Chase Sponsors
While the Schumacher name will be a weight around Mick's neck, it will also be a blessing.
Most of his rivals will already be heavily reliant on goodwill or sponsors in order to compete, and it'll only become tougher for them as their careers progress. Karting is an expensive hobby, but the costs pale to insignificance when compared to the cost of single-seater racing.
But in turn, those costs pale to zero when compared to Mick's family's wealth. Michael's years of racing at the top of the sport made him hundreds of millions in salaries and sponsorships. It's impossible to know exactly how much, but in 2010 the Daily Mail estimated his net worth at £500 million.
Mick will never have to run himself ragged trying to claw together a few hundred thousand pounds for a season in Formula Three. Sponsors will come to him; if not, he can pay for it himself.
But don't expect him to cruise along in a fog of mediocrity, funded by his family or wealthy benefactors like so many drivers in the lower formulae.
If he isn't good enough, he'll probably stop.
He Drives the Same Karts as His Father
Michael Schumacher has a long association with Italian kart constructor Tony Kart. Though driverdb records that he drove with Kali (now CRG) early in his own career, the seven-time world champion occasionally drove in karting events during and after his time in F1.
Per driverdb, in 2001 he entered the Formula A world championship with Tony, and in recent years he regularly tested with the team.
Mick has followed in his father's footsteps.
He has always driven Tony Karts, and competed for their works team at the recent world championships.
He Has a Refreshingly Normal Goal
Though he hasn't yet experienced racing in "real" single-seaters, Mick has already got one primary career goal in mind.
After coming second in the KFJ championship, he said (h/t Eurosport), "Of course I am proud of such an important result, but it is also clear that it is my goal to be world champion. This is only the beginning of my career."
It's the sort of response you'd expect from any young kart racer. If he wants to go to F1 enough, he'll surely get there.
But it's far too early to say whether he can become the second (or maybe third) son to emulate his father and claim the world title.