Mick Schumacher's time as the biggest name associated with the new ADAC Formula 4 series may be at an end after four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel was unveiled as the championship's latest patron.

The German will be returning to his roots, having competed in one of the ADAC's junior series early on in his career, and is looking forward to playing a part in shaping the country's motorsport future.

"I can well remember the early years of my career in single-seater racing and have a lot to thank the ADAC for," Vettel admitted, "It was a fantastic time for me, but also very important in my development as a racing driver. That's why I'm pleased to make a contribution, along with the ADAC, to increasing the attraction of Formula 4. I'll be following the championship with great interest; these guys are going to be racing at a high level, and I'm sure that I'll be seeing some of them eventually in F1."

The former Red Bull driver, who now plies his trade in the scarlet of Ferrari, moved from karting to Formula BMW ADAC in 2003. He immediately won five races in his debut season before eventually finishing as series runner-up. One year later, however, and Vettel comfortably secured the Formula BMW ADAC title, winning 18 out of 20 races and achieving at last a podium every he took to the track.

"With Sebastian Vettel, we have gained a successful F1 driver as patron to the new ADAC Formula 4 series, someone who gained first-hand experience of the ADAC's youth development programme at the beginning of his career," said ADAC Sports president Hermann Tomczyk, "Sebastian has been part of the ADAC family since the start of his career in formula racing, so it's great that he is now returning to his roots as four time F1 champion and is so committed to developing young talent.

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"It will be an additional boost to the motivation of these youngsters when they see that Sebastian started out in exactly the same way and that he is now supporting them on their career path into a hopefully successful future in motor racing."

The ADAC development programme for single-seater junior drivers has long been the starting point for potential motor racing aces. Apart from Vettel, other F1 drivers such as world championship runner-up Nico Rosberg, Nico H?lkenberg and Ralf Schumacher, plus DTM stars including Martin Tomczyk and Timo Glock, all began their successful careers in ADAC junior formula series at some point in the past. This year's crop includes Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time F1 world champion Michael, who graduates from a successful karting career to take his first steps in single-seaters.

Ralf Schumacher will again continue to act as patron to the ADAC Kart Masters during the 2015 season, having already supported the work of the world's second largest automobile club and aided the youngsters with advice and assistance since 2012.

Vettel's F1 rival Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, looks set to expand his repertoire onto the silver screen after rumours emerged suggesting he may have a cameo role in the Zoolander sequal. Hamilton, who voiced a character baring his name in the animated hit Cars 2, was spotted talking to cast members during filming in Rome.