Former Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve believes that Scuderia Ferrari could ‘burn’ Mick Schumacher if the German driver doesn’t perform to expectation.
Mick, son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, joined the Ferrari Drivers’ Academy this year as he makes his step up the Motorsport ladder into FIA Formula 2 with Prema Racing. Ferrari and Schumacher are one of Motorsport and F1’s most iconic pairing, with the two winning five drivers and constructors titles consecutively between 2000 and 2004, as well as breaking numerous records.
The return of the Schumacher name has been noted with the increase attention of F2 and with Schumacher grabbing headlines for his positive race results in the opening two rounds of the series.
Mick has also tested with both Ferrari and Alfa Romeo Racing in the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test, showing a potential glimpse of the future and seeing the Schumacher name return to Ferrari once again.
But 1997 F1 World Champion Villeneuve has different views over Ferrari’s appointment of Mick Schumacher this year, speaking with Swedish newspaper Expressen.
The Canadian believes that if Schumacher doesn’t perform, the Italian giants will ‘burn’ him and will be criticised hard.
“Right now they [Ferrari] are using his image but if he is not super fast, they will burn him,” said Villeneuve.
“It has been fairly quiet until now but that time is over. Everyone will be looking at everything he does in an extreme way,”
“If he is not quick and he makes mistakes, he will be criticised hard. He has to cope with it or go home, there is no middle road.”
Both Villeneuve and Mick’s father engaged for the F1 title in 1997 at Jerez, when controversially Michael collided into the side of Jacques’ Williams in desperation for the title. Villeneuve was able to resume and claim the title whilst Michael was later excluded from that year’s championship.
In December 2013, Michael was involved in a skiing accident that caused serious injuries. Michael’s conditions since the accident and his release from hospital has been quiet. Schumacher currently is being taken care in his private home in Switzerland.
Despite being rivals during the early stages of his career, Villeneuve respects and understands the privacy of Michael’s condition and says what is important is the family.
“It’s so easy to judge when you don’t know. When they want to be private in this way, we must respect it. They have their own reasons and what matters is the family.”