Despite his legendary surname generating great excitement and interest for his Formula 1 debut in 2021, Mick Schumacher was able to learn the ropes in fairly under-the-radar fashion during his rookie season. 

With Haas electing not to develop its 2021 car at all in order to focus resources onto its all-new 2022 design, the American squad faced an arduous campaign stuck at the very back of the F1 grid. 

As a result, points were never realistically on the cards for Schumacher. But the Ferrari Driver Academy member and 2020 Formula 2 champion still impressed in 2021 by comprehensively out-performing his fellow rookie teammate Nikita Mazepin and showing some encouraging progress. 

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Towards the end of last season, we got the chance to sit down with the German to review his first year in F1. 

In this exclusive interview, the 22-year-old discusses a number of topics including why he feels ‘at home’ in F1, his friendship with Sebastian Vettel, and his dreams of emulating his father Michael Schumacher by driving for Ferrari. 

Q - Are you happy with your debut F1 season and how you performed?

Mick Schumacher: I think we can say that we are happy. I think we’ve achieved a few things that we’ve wanted to, such as a Q2 appearance and growing over the whole year. 

I feel that we managed to get to that point. The one that is outstanding is obviously points, and we are all pushing to try to achieve that. 

Q - How did you find adjusting to life in F1? 

MS: I would say it has lived up to my expectations. I am also very fascinated about it because I feel so at home and it hasn’t been that way in any junior category really before. 

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Q - What makes you feel so at home? 

MS: I don’t know. Maybe the people, maybe the team. Obviously I think that it’s down to feeling comfortable in my skin, feeling comfortable in the environment I’m in and also on track. I think all of those things combined make me feel very at home in this championship. 

Q - Has that helped with your on-track performances? 

MS: Definitely! I feel that way and in many ways it will for sure also help me for my future. 

Q - What is the biggest thing you’ve learned? 

MS: I think it’s always the same thing, it’s tyres. Everyone talks about tyres and I think it’s the same for me. 

I got to understand this tyre, it’s different to everything else I’ve driven up until now and it’s definitely something which I have to get used to. I feel I probably understand it to 95%. 

There are still parts of it which are very different to how it used to be in Formula 2, and also back in Formula 3. So definitely the tyres I would say. 

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Q - Has your rivalry with Nikita been blown out of proportion? 

MS: I think it’s probably blown out of proportion in some ways. 

Obviously, I think that every teammate out there is competitive. I think we are not the only ones having these kind of issues but probably they’ve been more public with us. 

But yeah, overall, I think we do work together on that side and we try to aim for the same goal, which is obviously moving ahead and trying to improve ourselves in the sport. 

Q - Guenther Steiner is known for being quite a character. What is it like having him as a boss?

MS: Usually he’s very open for jokes. That’s one of the things that I had to get used to probably, that he’s so open for sone jokes. 

Sometimes I don’t understand them; he always says that I’m German and that I don’t understand it. No but It’s been great. Obviously we’ve had our moments but I think in general it’s been great. 

Q - Did it help being out of the spotlight for your first season in F1? 

MS: I would say, no. I would say I would rather be in the points and be there fighting for it. Maybe it’s more pressure, maybe it’s more difficult but I for sure would prefer being thrown into the cold water at times and trying to prove myself in that way. 

It’s more out there because you’ll be more in the pictures, you’ll be more on TV and people will talk more about you. In the position that we’re in right now, unfortunately we have to get onto the TV in other ways. 

That’s by usually completely out-performing our car, or unfortunately sometimes when bad things happen. 

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Q - How frustrating was it that you couldn’t really show what you are capable of? 

MS: We accepted that quite early on and we knew what was expected of the car and we basically all worked in the direction to try and prepare ourselves as good as we can for [2022], where, hopefully we’ll be in that position where we can fight for points every weekend. 

Q - How confident are you that that can be achieved? 

MS: I think from what I see and from being involved in this, I do have the feeling that we are in a good position. 

How good? We will only know in Bahrain at the first race but we have this attitude next year that we know we’ll have updates coming our way, we will be developing the car and all of those things that we haven’t had this year. So we know that if there is a problem, we can fix it next year. 

Q - You’ve really impressed with your attitude and work ethic, something that was a famous trait of your dad. Is that something you learned from his career? 

MS: I wouldn’t say that I’ve learned that, it’s something that’s just been there naturally. I enjoy working as a team and I enjoy doing it as a team. I think that’s the important part. I wouldn’t be able to race without these guys, so that’s frankly the attitude I have towards it. 

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Q - How important is it having a multiple world champion like Sebastian supporting you early in your F1 career? 

MS: It’s definitely great. But more so than being my mentor, he’s my friend. I think that is something which is much more valuable to me. That’s the more important part to me. 

Q - Has Lewis Hamilton given you any advice? 

MS: Yeah definitely he’s always been very open to giving advice to help me in the position I was in. Also, already back in the day, when my dad wasn’t with Mercedes anymore, I did get the chance to come to a few races and see him there. 

It’s been definitely nice knowing that when when he had time he was able to talk to me about certain things. Those conversations are obviously private. Some of it is related to racing but most of it is just on a friendly basis. 

Q - Has it been a surreal experience sharing the grid with the likes of Sebastian, Fernando (Alonso) and Kimi (Raikkonen), guys who previously raced against your dad? 

MS: Yeah, thinking that they raced two generations, it must be surreal for them too. It must make them feel… (laughs as he purposely avoids saying ‘old’)… Like they’ve been in the sport for quite a while. 

Unfortunately it was not as much battling as I would like it to be. But hopefully, some of them are going to be there next year, so hopefully I can repay the favour and get to battle with them again. 

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Q - How valuable was it to get some experience of wheel-to-wheel battling? 

MS: Any battling I can get is definitely immensely useful and it’s quite difficult because we didn’t get much of it [in 2021] but every moment that we do, I think we just have to remember it and get everything out of it so that we can then know what you have to do in every situation. 

Q - What would it mean to you to one day get the chance to drive for Ferrari? 

MS: I think in general it’s a dream for everybody to race for Ferrari. I think anybody would like to race there. 

But obviously my thoughts are very much on the here and now and trying to do my best job in the position that I am in with Haas. For sure hopefully with a better car we’ll be able to take the maximum out of it.

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