With a surname like Schumacher in motorsport, you might think there’s a lot of pressure. But for Mick Schumacher, there’s nothing but pride. Son of the seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, the 24-year-old is currently a reserve driver for the Mercedes team, which is headed up by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
After making his F1 debut for the 2021 season, Mick raced in the pinnacle of motorsport for two years before making the switch to this new role with Mercedes in ’23. Keeping himself incredibly busy with countless hours on the team’s simulator to make the car the best it can be, the German is still learning and keeping himself ready for a comeback.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Schumacher discusses his new responsibilities, the lifestyle of an F1 driver and his unique friendship with Michelle Yeoh.
Sports Illustrated: How are you finding life at the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 team, Mick?
Mick Schumacher: It’s obviously a very different role from being a full-time driver to a reserve driver, but they’ve treated me so well and brought me into the sport so well in a different role. It’s all about learning, so that’s what I really appreciate.
SI: What are the key responsibilities that you’re doing?
MS: In the European races, it’s really about the simulator so I’ll be doing the sim overnight support. So that’s been a key point for me, where I feel like I could contribute the most. Then obviously, on these races here, it’s just about being present, being in the meetings, trying to have input on things like when we do the Pirelli Hot Laps for guests—for example, I noticed it was very bumpy. So that’s something that I can directly share with the drivers and with the team, and hopefully help them for the practice time they have to prepare the car.
SI: Are there any new challenges you’ve faced when taking on this role?
MS: You get that you get presented with a big piece of cake, and then you aren’t actually allowed to eat it! It’s obviously a bit of an unfortunate position to be in because I’d much rather be racing. But on the other hand, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of this team to be able to learn from them and hopefully become a better racing driver mentally.
SI: This is a team that has a lot of connection to the Schumacher name, with your father racing here from 2010 until his retirement in ‘12. How special is it to be a part of this team?
MS: It’s great. You know, you can see what my dad has put into a team. It’s so visible, and you still feel them today. I mean, 80% of the team in the engineering office seems like they are still the same. What was it, more than 10 years? Yeah, it’s great to see all of them and be working with them now.
SI: Although you’re not driving full-time with this role, have you had a chance for more down time? And if so, what have you been getting up to when not at the Grand Prix?
MS: I wouldn’t say I have more free time. I’m probably busier than before traveling around and especially with the simulator support. You travel so much more because normally you arrive on a Wednesday night and you have a Thursday, and now you’re suddenly in a position where you have to travel back and forwards so it’s obviously a bit different. It’s quite a tough position to be in.
SI: What does a dream day off look like for Mick Schumacher?
MS: Not having to travel! Something where you can move around a bit and be in nature and do stuff that you enjoy.
SI: You’re still having to train a lot for this role. What are your favorite exercises to do to keep fit and what does the diet look like for a racing driver?
MS: I’m a big fan of weights, just weight training and being in the gym and spending time there. But on the other hand, cardio is quite important for us. I enjoy doing that and running is a position where it’s quite easy these days just to grab a pair of shoes and go for a run. So it’s a bit easier than biking, but whenever I’m home and it’s nice weather outside we’d go out and go bike riding. For diet, this year obviously will be different. I tried some different things to see how quickly my body changes and reacts so I had a period where I was doing quite a lot of cardio. I lost like five kilos [just over 11 pounds] and then built it back up.
SI: You have a special friendship with Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh, which quite a lot of people found surprising. Can you talk a bit about that? Obviously, it’s through Jean Todt who your father worked very closely with during his time at Ferrari.
MS: I mean, she’s a great person. We spent so much time together, especially when I was young. Every time we met up or we saw each other with Jean, with everybody involved, we always had a great time. I’m lucky to have her as part of my life.
SI: With your time away from F1, is there anything you think you’ll do differently if you come back to racing full-time?
MS: Yeah, for sure. There’s a lot of things that I’ve learned now that I didn’t know before because now I’m able to see two drivers, and see how they work in that car. I feel like I could bring a lot of input to a new team and a lot of knowledge. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have been great to work with because they’re both very nice people and great teammates.