Mick Schumacher has yet to score a point after his first Formula One season with tail-ender Haas but the son of seven-time world champion Michael has high hopes for 2022.
The 22-year-old arrived on the grid as Formula Two champion and with plenty of hype but last-placed Haas has been outgunned all year, the only team to finish with a blank.
Despite that, Schumacher quietly got on with the job of learning the ropes without feeling any pressure of expectation.
“I’m confident to say that I feel very comfortable in my skin and in my position,” the German told select media before the season ended in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
“I feel like we’ve extracted the maximum out of the car. I feel that we have been with each event improving.”
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Schumacher’s season highlights include making it past the first knockout phase of qualifying in changeable conditions in Turkey and a wheel-to-wheel battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, now champion, in Hungary.
“I’m doing whatever I can and do it the best way I can,” he said.
“Yes, I came in with my surname but at the end also I had results behind me. I was able to prove my way into Formula One. If I add a legacy or not, that’s up to my own career, up to myself at the end.”
Ferrari great Michael Schumacher, who has not been seen in public since suffering severe head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013, won 91 races, 68 pole positions and 155 podiums.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who on Sunday missed out on an unprecedented eighth title, has since claimed most of Schumacher’s records.
It would be unrealistic to expect Mick, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, to reach the same dizzying heights.
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He has acquitted himself well against Russian rookie teammate Nikita Mazepin, however, and Ferrari will be looking for a step up in his second season.
Haas uses Ferrari engines, gearboxes and components and Schumacher’s placement has always been with the eventual aim of one day driving for the Italian team even if that remains a distant prospect.
“Obviously, the history with my father binds me a lot to it,” said Mick of an eventual move to Maranello. “If that’s the place where I end up then I don’t know. That’s a question which is far in the future right now.
“My hope is very, very high for next year and the expectations are also quite high. At the end we’ll only find out once we have done it in the first race.”