Formula 1: The Schumacher name returns as Mick looks to pick up the mantle

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F1 2021 kicks off this weekend with a number of exciting sub-plots to follow, with perhaps one of the most fascinating set to involve the return of one of the most famous names in the sport; Schumacher.

From an early age, it was clear Mick Schumacher would be gunning to follow in his father Michael’s footsteps and make it to Formula 1, with him achieving that aim this year.

Racing under his mother’s maiden name during his early days to keep the pressure and attention on him as low as possible, there’s no hiding the spotlight now for Mick as he takes to the pinnacle of motorsport this weekend in Bahrain – though it’s surely something he’ll take in his stride.

Indeed, he’s a confident but calm driver and has shown his talent – he’s not simply here on name as the cynics might suggest.

In fact, he’s relishing the task ahead of him that carrying that name brings, telling the BBC: "It is motivation and pride. I am happy to be here; I am happy to have brought back the Schumacher name into F1.

"I have done it with championships on my back so we have proven I am able to drive a race car. So I don't feel a blink of pressure from it."

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Sure, being his father’s son has helped open doors, he admits that himself, but he’s still had to showcase his own ability in an environment that cares not for reputation and ultimately answers to the stopwatch and the stopwatch alone.

A European Formula 3 title winner in 2018, he moved into F2 in 2019 and then won F1’s feeder series last year, meaning the natural progression is to now drive at the very top level.

Part of the Ferrari driver academy, there’ll be natural talk about him eventually driving for the Scuderia – as his father so famously did - but first, he starts out at Haas where expectations are low, it must be said, this year.

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The team has admitted that in-season development will be minimal at most as they prepare for 2022 and new regulations so, for Mick, the challenge has to be learn, finish consistently and outpace his team-mate regularly – simply show what he can do despite his limited equipment.

Of course, the spotlight will be on him more than ever before but, make no mistake, he knows how to handle it.

Michael raised the bar during his career and, though Mick won’t be expected to repeat such feats – particularly not yet – there’s a great chance he’ll show why he’s on the grid on merit this season.

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