Friday should actually be a special day in Mick Schumacher’s (21) career. The seat rehearsal for his first Formula 1 car, the Haas VF-21, was on the agenda for the team in England. You can see the young Schumacher beaming in photos. He has finally made it to Formula 1 and clearly feels at home with the US team. And yet a little later, the son of record world champion Michael completely lost his laughter.
What happened? In an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa, Schumacher was asked for his opinion on Lewis Hamilton’s commitment against racism and for more sustainability. Mick preferred not to comment on the topic – knowing full well that any spontaneous statement about it could always be misunderstood.
Schumacher experiences typical escalation in social media
But that’s exactly what happened to the denied comment, which went viral on social media – and for which the Haas pilot was heavily criticized. True to the motto: If you are not for it, you are against. A much too shortened rating of the spontaneous reaction, but a typical escalation on social media.
Even before his first GP race, Mick Schumacher had to find out how difficult it can be to drive on the ideal media line.
Of course, dealing with such annoyances is part of the professional existence of a public person. But Mick Schumacher is not just any racing driver. Due to his descent from the best Formula 1 driver of all time and after his fateful skiing accident in 2013, he is under more scrutiny than any other young man. The long shadow of the father can also be overwhelming. And that is exactly why we journalists have a responsibility: to curb excessive expectations, avoid escalation, kindly refrain from underhanded questions.
Trick question about father Michael Schumacher
Another passage in the interview shows how much the Italians overshot their target. La Stampa Schumacher junior tries to elicit the answer as to whether he has spoken to his dad about the upcoming Formula 1 debut. A trick question, as an answer would also give an insight into Michael Schumacher’s state of health.
The example shows how a simple interview can quickly turn into a complicated hurdle race for Schumi junior. After all: Mick Schumacher took the last hurdle brilliantly. The subject was private and he would like to talk about motorsport again, he politely asked the reporter.
The biggest difference to the politics topic around Lewis Hamilton: Mick has long had practice in turning around relevant questions about his private life. But the young man is extremely capable of learning. In the future he will also take the political chicane without being undermined. Hopefully he won’t lose the fun of racing with all the bumps in the road.