MANAMA (REUTERS) - Sebastian Vettel said he will be on hand to offer advice to Mick Schumacher, son of his boyhood idol and seven-time world champion Michael, when he makes his Formula One debut next year.
The 21-year-old will drive for US-owned Haas alongside Russian Nikita Mazepin in 2021, bringing the Schumacher name back to Formula One for the first time since his father Michael retired from the sport in 2012.
"Obviously, I have a very special connection to his father," Vettel told reporters via video conference at the Sakhir Grand Prix.
"It's a shame that Michael is not able to witness Mick's progression in the last years and his step now into Formula One.
"From my side I really like him, we get along well and I'm happy to tell him everything I know."
Vettel grew up idolising Schumacher senior, who was the most successful driver in Formula One history with 91 wins and seven world titles, until Lewis Hamilton rewrote the record books this season.
That hero worship developed into a friendship as Vettel progressed up the racing ladder and made it to Formula One.
The pair even shared the grid when the older German, who has not been seen in public since suffering severe head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013, made his three-year Mercedes comeback.
Vettel said he had always been able to count on Michael for advice.
When asked about comments Schumacher junior had made saying Vettel, a four-times world champion, was to him what his father had been to the 33-year-old, he said: "I'm flattered.
"Obviously, I watched his father winning a lot more races than he could have watched me win," the 53-time race winner said.
"I think it's very important for him to find his own path and follow his own way," Vettel added.
"But surely as much as it helped when Michael had some things to say when I asked and gave me advice, I'm trying to do the same to him."