Mick Schumacher has had a disappointing season so far. A strong teammate and the increased expectations are obviously causing him problems. In the next few weeks it will be decided whether the 23-year-old will finally arrive in Formula 1.

When Mick Schumacher made his Formula 1 debut for the Haas Formula 1 team a year and a half ago, expectations were huge. But of course everyone who was familiar with this sport knew that the massive media hype had little to do with reality. At just 22 years old, the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher was driving the slowest car in the racing series. One could hope for small respectable successes, 15th place instead of 18th, beating the teammate, a successful overtaking maneuver – things like that.

In the meantime the wind has turned and is blowing hard in the young Schumacher’s face. He enjoyed pup protection last season, but the first critics are now speaking up and denying his talent for Formula 1. Now judgments like that of the German rally legend Walter Röhrl (“Not the outstanding talent that his father had”) are not the standard, and certainly not in the garrulous Formula 1.

Mick Schumacher’s record is modest

But in six races (he sat out one), Schumacher, who always appeared friendly and professional, hardly advertised himself. Mistakes, accidents and a serious competitor in his own team make things difficult for the 23-year-old. Before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, team boss Günther Steiner increased the public pressure: “It can’t possibly go on like this,” said the South Tyrolean. If Schumacher wants to score points, he shouldn’t drive into the walls. “He knows that too. If he drives into a wall somewhere, that’s not healthy either,” said Steiner with his own humor.

Schumacher’s boss was referring to his pilot’s two serious accidents. Schumacher built the first in qualifying for the second race of the season in Saudi Arabia. His car hit the wall at over 200 kilometers per hour. He was lucky that the car spun and crashed sideways. Nevertheless, Schumacher had to sit out the race on medical advice. He fabricated the second crash in Monaco when he lost control in a wet spot during the race and also ended up in the barriers. In both cases he wrecked the car completely and caused high extra costs for the team. On the street circuit in Miami, he collided with Sebastian Vettel, but still finished the race.

Schumacher found it easier in his first season. He showed the performances that could be expected given the circumstances. He had his then teammate, the Russian Nikita Masepin, under control. The moderately talented oligarch’s son got into the formula only because of his father’s money. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Haas ended working with Masepin and hired one of his former pilots, Danish Kevin Magnussen.

Magnussen is faster in qualifying

In terms of sport, Magnussen is a win for the racing team – and a problem for the young Schumacher. The Dane won the qualifying sessions, where a fast lap counts, with a score of 4:2. In the race it’s 3:2 for Schumacher so far (including retirements), but Magnussen has already finished in the top ten twice and scored 15 important points for the team, while Schumacher is still waiting for the first world championship point of his young career and penultimate in the drivers’ standings. He achieved his best result with 11th place in the first race in Bahrain.

Another problem that seems to bother the young driver is the increased expectations. It’s not just bigger because Schumacher is driving his second season, but because his Haas car is faster. If the results so far hadn’t been so mediocre, the US team would have done better in the Constructors’ Championship. At the moment, it occupies a disappointing eighth place out of ten teams. That has a financial impact. Every point won brings more money into the small team’s coffers.

One can speculate a lot about the reasons for the crash drives and the moderate performance. Is it really too little talent or does Schumacher first have to learn to deal with the increased pressure? Does the son of overdriver Michael Schumacher want to prove it to everyone and must inevitably fail? There are no definite answers. One thing is certain: in qualifying in Jeddah he risked too much because he didn’t want to admit defeat to teammate Magnussen. He drove over the barrier and lost control of the car. A clear driving error. The accident in Monaco, on the other hand, can happen to anyone, aggravated by the fact that it was raining. The eventual winner, Red Bull driver Sergio Perez, also had an accident on the narrow street circuit in qualifying the day before. And in Barcelona it was the race strategy that prevented Schumacher from getting a better result.

Schumacher reacted calmly to the statements made by team boss Steiner. “Maybe that sometimes helps to get faster.” He tries to use the pressure for himself. “That motivates me and gives the whole thing a different dynamic,” said Schumacher. He knows very well that the next few weeks will have a decisive impact on his future career. exit open.