Mick Schumacher has the chance to race for Haas in 2021 because Ferrari believes he has the potential to represent the Scuderia in future, according to team principal Mattia Binotto.
Haas has signed Schumacher and fellow rookie Nikita Mazepin as its 2021 driver line-up. The German secured the Formula 2 championship shortly after his promotion was confirmed, adding to the European F3 title he claimed two years earlier, and Binotto said that he views the 21-year-old’s Haas deal as a stepping stone toward a future in Maranello.
“Mick Schumacher will be one of the drivers for Haas next year, which for us is a great opportunity, showing the strength of collaboration we’ve got,” Binotto said. “Mick is part of our FDA (Ferrari Drivers Academy) and the FDA program is not there to develop drivers for F1, but it’s there to develop drivers that one day may drive a Ferrari seat, a red car.
“When you move from F2 and jump into F1, the very first year cannot be a directly into a red car because that would be too much responsibility and not enough experience. So knowing that we’ve got customer teams or partners on which we may count to continue developing our drivers in F1 is an important element.”
As part of Schumacher’s development, veteran engineer Jock Clear will work with the rookie as well as the other members of Ferrari’s Driver Academy to try and help them along their learning curves.
“Jock is a great person, a great professional who has been in Ferrari for many years,” Binotto said. “His role in 2020 was driver coach – an engineer who is supporting the drivers in order to perform in terms of driving to their best; looking at the lines, look at the way they are braking, through the corner, accelerating, managing tires… to make sure that the driver is developing well.
“We had some chats with Jock in the past weeks. We would like to develop him some more as a driver coach not only for Charles, but looking ahead to the future to all of our young driver line-up that we’ve got in the Ferrari Driver Academy. So next year we’ve got Mick in Haas starting his experience in F1, but we’ve still got young drivers competing in F2 – for example Robert – or Callum Ilott, who will be our test driver next year who still will do the simulator and free practices.
“So the role of Jock will be to assist all these drivers to develop themselves as drivers and try to exploit the most of their potential.”