Reigning European Formula 3 champion Mick Schumacher has the potential to enjoy a successful Formula 1 career, according to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

Schumacher, the son of seven-time world champion Michael, claimed eight victories on his way to beating highly-rated Red Bull junior Dan Ticktum to the European F3 title in his sophomore campaign with Prema in 2018, and will make the step up to Formula 2 with the Italian squad next season.

And Wolff reckons the 19-year-old German can follow in his father’s footsteps by making it all the way to F1. Schumacher, who dominated the early 2000s while driving for Ferrari before later returning for a second spell in F1 with Mercedes, holds the record for most championship (seven) and race wins (91).

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“He’s won the Formula 3 championship with a Mercedes engine, which is great, but he’s not part of the Mercedes junior programme,” Wolff said at the FIA end-of-season prize giving gala in St Petersburg.

“I think the most important part 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, so he’s ticked a box. Now he’s going into F2 which will be very difficult again against many successful drivers, but there’s no doubt that he has the potential to be a successful driver in Formula 1.

“Maybe one day with us, maybe not. But an exciting young man, definitely.”

Despite being unsuccessful in helping to find Esteban Ocon a full-time F1 drive for 2019, Wolff stressed he wants to keep an active role in Mercedes’ young driver programme, after its latest recruit, George Russell, landed an F1 seat with Williams following his F2 title success.

“We have a very positive outlook and positive relationship with young drivers,” Wolff explained.

Michael Schumacher started as a Mercedes young driver in sports cars, and became the best of all time.

“And in the same way today, we are looking at very young drivers like we did in the past with Pascal Wehrlein, Esteban Ocon, and George Russell, and we hope to see these kids graduate successfully into Formula 1 and make their own careers and hopefully one day stay in a Mercedes.

“I personally take a lot of enjoyment seeing them come together and coaching them, mentoring them, with our group, and I think it’s very important for Mercedes to play a role in the young driver programme.”

Mick Schumacher is not currently part of an F1 young driver programme, though Mercedes and Ferrari have both expressed an interest and appear likely options given their respective close ties to the teenager.

 

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