Rosberg worried hype may affect Schumacher Jr's race career

Mick Schumacher, 16, has faced intense media scrutiny. There is tremendous pressure on him to live up to the family name.
Mick Schumacher, 16, has faced intense media scrutiny. There is tremendous pressure on him to live up to the family name. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BERLIN • Formula One star Nico Rosberg is worried about the hype surrounding the fledgling career of Mick Schumacher as the 16-year-old faces intense media interest whenever he races.

Mick, the son of seven-time world Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, had an early exit in a Mercedes event in Stuttgart on Saturday, when he raced against Rosberg, runner-up in the F1 world drivers' championship behind Lewis Hamilton.

In a head-to-head in Stuttgart, Schumacher Jr finished nearly two seconds behind Rosberg, who went on to finish fourth in the day's competition while Hamilton was third in front of 40,000 fans.

Rosberg, whose father Keke was the 1982 world champion, knows the pressure Mick is under to live up to the family name after the teenager's debut season in Formula Four brought mixed results despite intense media interest.

POTENTIAL HAZARD

It must certainly take some of the fun of the sport away from him, but it's something he has to accept and live with. I always look to see how he's driving and I hope he can enjoy the racing despite all the hype.

NICO ROSBERG, on the pressure faced by Formula Four driver Mick Schumacher

Schumacher Jr did not remove his helmet in front of the television cameras in Stuttgart and gave just one interview, describing the event as "super fun and an honour to be here", as reporters clamoured to speak to him.

"Mick had it worse than I did. It's an incredible amount of hype," said Mercedes driver Rosberg.

"I never had it like that and it's a pity as it must certainly take some of the fun of the sport away from him, but it's something he has to accept and live with.

"I always look to see how he's driving and I hope he can enjoy the racing despite all the hype."

Hamilton said Mick only needed to look at his father's career to get some inspiration.

"He certainly doesn't need any advice from me, he just has to look at what his father has done, because he is the greatest legend in our sport," said the three-time world champion.

Michael Schumacher, 46, is recovering at the family home in Switzerland after being left with a serious head injury following a skiing accident nearly two years ago. He won the last of his seven world titles in 2004.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2015, with the headline 'Rosberg worried hype may affect Schumacher Jr's race career'. Print Edition | Subscribe