Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says Mick Schumcher’s arrival at Maranello didn’t immediately bring back memories of his father Michael until he started working with the team’s technicians at a detailed level.

The 20-year-old made his Formula 1 test debut with Ferrari on day one of the Bahrain in-season test, before switching over to Alfa Romeo for the second day, heralding a new chapter in the Schumacher story following in the footsteps of his father.

Given the successful history between Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, securing five consecutive F1 world titles, Binotto accepts there was great attention from all sides when Mick first arrived at Maranello to prepare for the Bahrain test and saw similarities between the two.

“The very first time I saw him after many years in Maranello, when he came back, if you looked at him, I don’t think he looks very similar to Michael,” Binotto said. “But the way he’s behaving is very similar and the way he approaches the exercise and the way he’s interested in the car, discussing it with the technicians.

“So even in Maranello, you are looking after him, but he’s always in the workshop looking at the car, speaking with the mechanics, and I think that’s very similar to his father.”

Binotto also feels its unfair to directly analyse Schumacher’s debut day for Ferrari given the test was truncated by rain while he was also learning all the technical procedures for the first time.

“To assess the performance, I think it is very difficult because first, the weather conditions were very bad on that day and because at the end I think that the objective was not really to assess the performance,” he said.

“It was his very first day in an F1 car. It was more important for him still in the learning phase, day-by-day, is facing a completely new challenge in his F2 season.”

Despite his tentative early assessment, Binotto was impressed by Schumacher’s maiden F1 outing and how he handled the tasks getting up to speed without trying to be overtly  impressive.

“I think what was certainly positive was the way he approached the exercise,” he said. “The approach to the day of testing, never pushing to the limit, trying to improve run-by-run, learning the car, learning the team, and I think in that respect he did a very good job.

“He was very well focussed, concentrated and tried to do the proper job and learn. I think that’s the most you may expect on such a day.”

F1 hosts a second and final in-season test next month at Circuit de Catalunya (May 14-15) after the Spanish Grand Prix with Schumacher tipped to be a contender for a return to testing duty in order to fill Ferrari’s young driver requirements. Each F1 team must run two days (out of four in total) with drivers who have contested two Grands Prix or fewer.

Schumacher returns to action in F2 next weekend in Baku, following his debut in Bahrain where he finished in eighth place in the feature race and in sixth place in the sprint race.

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