Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff has backed Mick Schumacher, the son of F1 and sporting legend Michael, to eventually join the F1 ranks after his fledgling career in the junior ranks of motorsport.
Schumacher Jr has enhanced his growing reputation this season by claiming victory in the European Formula 3 championship.
He has stated in the past of his desire to emulate his father’s achievements in the sport and after his success this season and earned a promotion to Formula 2 with current team Prema next year.
Having impressed driving a car powered by a Mercedes engine, Wolff has taken note of Schumacher's progress and has him firmly on the radar of the F1 team.
At the FIA end of season ceremony on Friday, Wolff discussed the 19-year-old's potential and stated that he was an “exciting young man”.
“He’s won the Formula 3 championship this year with Mercedes engines, which is great, but he’s not part of the Mercedes-Benz junior programme,” said Wolff, per Motorsport.
“I think the most important is to give him time. He has this incredible legacy of having a father who was the most successful racing driver of all-time.
“He’s won F3, ticked the box, now he’s going into F2 which should be very difficult again against many experienced drivers.
“I have no doubt he has the potential to be a successful driver in Formula 1. Maybe one day with us, maybe not.”
Earlier in his career, Schumacher used his mother’s maiden name whilst competing in order to deflect attention, but it appears that now he is very much trying to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Ferrari have also expressed an interest in the exciting 19-year-old, but Wolff is hoping that the fact that Schumacher senior started his career at Mercedes and came back to race for them in 2010 for a couple of seasons, will tip the balance in their favour.
“Michael Schumacher started as a Mercedes young driver in sportscars and became the best of all-time,” said Wolff.
There has been much discussion about the Mercedes young driver programme, with Wolff himself expressing doubts earlier in the year due to complications with affiliations to Mercedes stunting their opportunities elsewhere.
But Wolff believes that it is “important for Mercedes to play a role” with young drivers and cited the role that they have played in the careers of Pascal Wehrlein, George Russell and Esteban Ocon to date.
If Schumacher manages to translate his success in F3 this year to more victories in F2 next year, then you can be sure to see that Mercedes will be keeping a very close eye on his plans to step up to the big time in Formula 1.