Sebastian Vettel says Mick Schumacher deserves time to develop and is already under enough pressure to be a success following his signing by Ferrari.
Schumacher — the son of seven-time drivers’ champion Michael — was partnered with Vettel at the Race of Champions in Mexico City and duly beat the current Ferrari driver in one of Sunday’s heats. The weekend also saw last year’s European Formula 3 champion confirmed as part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, and Vettel believes Schumacher has a bright future but hopes those around him show patience.
“I think (he can be a future star), give him time,” Vettel said at ROC. “He’s under enough pressure as it is but just give him time and let him do his thing and we’ll see what happens.”
Focusing on more immediate expectations, Vettel says Ferrari has everything it needs in place to beat Mercedes in 2019, after seeing title challenges fade in the past two seasons.
Ferrari took the fight to Mercedes in both 2017 and ’18 but on both occasions fell away at the end of the European season, with Lewis Hamilton wrapping up the drivers’ championship in Mexico City each time.
“We’ve got the ingredients and it’s down to us to do the job. It’s difficult to say at this time of year. Everybody’s still in the dark, we’re waiting for the cars to come and then get a feel and we’ll see in the first race.
“But looking forward, it’ll be a big challenge — what we want to achieve I think is clear. In terms of support I think here (in Mexico City) also there were a lot of Ferrari fans, so we’re not lacking in terms of support.”
Ferrari initiated a change in team principal earlier this month, with former technical director Mattia Binotto replacing Maurizio Arrivabene.