Schumacher legacy: Return of the MSC

Mick Schumacher getting a feel of the Haas car during testing on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, which will host the opening F1 race on March 28.
Mick Schumacher getting a feel of the Haas car during testing on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, which will host the opening F1 race on March 28.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • The letters MSC on a Formula One timing screen once charted the dominance of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher but this season, they will denote the presence on track of his son Mick.

The Ferrari great first took the abbreviation to set himself apart from younger brother Ralf on screens that display the first three letters of a surname, but Mick has his own justification.

After winning the Formula Two title last season while accompanied by the letters SCH, the third Schumacher to enter the motor sport asked F1 - now headed by former Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali - to make a change.

"I wanted that MSC," the 21-year-old Haas driver said during pre-season testing in Bahrain ahead of his F1 race debut there on March 28.

"It's an emotional bond I have to it. I think it's quite nice for everybody watching the timing screens and seeing MSC back on the screens as well. I think there's a positive to it."

There will be those who expect the famous name to bring its own magic but Mick has shown through the junior series that he is well-grounded.

For him, taking the Schumacher name back onto the starting grid is a source of pride, more than pressure.

"I'm very happy to carry that surname, and I'm very happy to carry that name back into Formula One, and I'm very proud of it," the Swiss-born German said at the launch of his team's new Ferrari-powered car earlier this month. "It's like a boost for me and it gives me motivation every single day."

His father, who has not been seen in public since he suffered severe head injuries in a 2013 skiing accident, made an instant impression when he qualified seventh on his F1 debut with Jordan in Belgium 30 years ago and was snapped up for the next race by rivals Benetton.

Mick can expect a less dramatic debut with the US-owned Haas, who scored only three points last year and have already made clear that their main focus is on preparing for next year when new rules come into play.

But his enthusiasm, even when the prospect of a possible year without points is raised, remains undimmed.

"I do feel ready, I would go racing tomorrow if it were up to me," Mick said.

"I cannot tell what is going to happen this season but I know that I will do everything in my toolbox... to hopefully get some points."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2021, with the headline 'Schumacher legacy: Return of the MSC'. Subscribe