Berlin: Mick Schumacher generated huge amounts of media interest yesterday as the teenage son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher began official testing before his Formula Four Junior Series debut.
Cameras followed the shy 16-year-old wherever he went at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, between Hanover and Berlin, as he tested with Team Van Amersfoort of the Netherlands.
Schumacher junior is set to make his junior series debut in the opener to the eight-race season on April 26. His father is still recovering from serious head injuries suffered in a skiing accident in December 2013 and Oschersleben is the same track where Michael Schumacher drove his first official motorbike race in 2008.
"The hype was big back then, so it's nice that his son is here now," said Dieter Young, sports director of ADAC, who are sponsoring the junior series. Schmacher junior was seventh in the first testing session when "25 SCM" flashed up on the results monitors, but improved in the second to end up fifth and nearly two seconds behind the leader.
No other driver in the 42-strong field received anywhere near as much attention as the blond-haired, blue-eyed teenager who climbed into the car with "M. Schumacher" on the side.
Perhaps there was too much interest, according to Sabine Kehm, Michael Schumacher's manager and confidant for the last 15 years, who appealed for calm from the waiting media as she shielded Schumacher junior.
"I'd like to ask that the expectations on Mick aren't build up too high," she said. "It's his first year in Formula racing, everything is new to him and he has so much to learn. We don't want to expose him to this level of media hype."