David Schumacher at DTM: The name is binding – sport

Over and over again this question. David Schumacher found his answer long ago. However, he keeps hearing the question frequently, it is part of his life, and part of his family history. So: How much does he feel the extra expectation – as a motorsport Schumacher? “I don’t know what it’s like for others,” says the 20-year-old. “I only know it that way and got used to it from the start.” “I don’t feel any more pressure than others. I put most of the pressure on myself and a little on my parents.”

David is the son of Ralf Schumacher, who drove Formula 1 racing for ten years and won six Grand Prix in 180 matches. He’s the nephew of Michael, the seven-time world champion, long-time record holder in many stats in this series, make up like few others, an icon. He is the cousin of Mick, who has driven the Haas F1 team since 2021 and has also been a reserve driver at Ferrari since 2022, the traditional racing team with which his father Michael won the title five times. When you think of motorsport, you think of Schumacher. That can open doors and bring in tremendous interest, as is the case with Mick. But it can also lead to the experience that Schumacher isn’t just Schumacher – and he probably doesn’t have to be.

David Schumacher didn’t get enough sponsors for Formula 2: “It surprised me myself.”

When the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) Championships kicks off this weekend in Portimão, Portugal, David will drive a Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Team Winward. He takes a detour from the route that is usually planned on his way to the first class: Formula 3, Formula 2, Formula 1. However, even great sporting success does not guarantee the cockpit. Money plays an increasingly important role. There are only 20 seats.

Oscar Piastre, for example, won both junior series outright – however in 2022 in Formula 1, that was only enough for a replacement driver in Alpine because the others bring in so much money. Like a pony. In Formula 2, the competitive team will need around four million euros for one season. Paying this amount out of the family fund – so far Ralph has borne a large part of the costs – seemed risky, not least after the Biastr affair. But David didn’t get enough sponsors for Formula 2, so his last name didn’t help either. “It surprised me myself,” he says. “But this series doesn’t offer enough marketing space as a platform, and it doesn’t reach abroad because it’s rarely aired.”

GT3 instead of formula: David Schumacher will be driving the Winward Mercedes-AMG team at the DTM this season. The first of eight dates will take place this weekend in Portimao.

(Photo: Thomas Bakush / Imago)

Why not work what works for the other? Ralf Schumacher said in an interview with SZ in March that he was hoping for more interest because he “would have done so well with Mick”. But motorsports are no longer very popular with companies, and there is a difference. Mick was fortunate to have solid financial backing from Ferrari and Deutsche Vermögensberatung: “And his father was already a hero somewhere.”

While Meek had been protected for a long time, it wasn’t necessary for David to be this way

The excitement Michael created no matter where he went, the curiosity and fascination around him were immense. And they moved to Mick. Even as the 23-year-old was driving in Formula 4, he was surrounded by paparazzi, sometimes for minutes. Hardly anyone else is interested in the series, although some descendants of famous racing drivers have already started here. But the hype in the junior ranks was hardly as great as that about Mick, and probably had nothing to do with anyone else. So he was protected as well as he could until Formula 3.

With David it wasn’t necessary that way. The way he talks also shows that he was social differently. Polite, open and reflective, like his cousin, but not with the reservation he initially showed, under constant surveillance. “Fortunately, Mick was paying more and more attention,” David says. “I was calm. On the one hand, I’m happy with that. On the other hand, it would have been an advantage in terms of sponsorship if we hadn’t raced in the Junior Series at the same time.”

Facial expressions, gestures, language, approach – a lot is always looking for Michael in Mick. David is not closely related to his father, but to his relative, who has already achieved what he wants to achieve as well. Mick won Formula 3 and Formula 2 in his second year before making it to Formula 1 and the buzz grew: Michael’s son! Finally Schumacher again! David finished his first season in Formula 3 without points, and the second in eleventh place. On his third racing weekend in 2021, he won the second of three races. “It really liberated me and helped me mentally,” he says. “After that, the self-doubt faded away and things just escalated.” “Long time without points – you start questioning yourself at some point.” He knows he has to be more successful in order to make the ladder.

Racing driver David Schumacher: The Next Generation: David and Mick Schumacher (right), here in 2018 at the Nürburgring.

The Next Generation: David and Mick Schumacher (R), here in 2018 at the Nürburgring.

(Photo: Thomas Bakush / Imago)

Father Ralf Schumacher says the road to Formula 1 is “simply out of reach”. With that, David wants to try. Even if it is found that motorsports in the single-seat categories have recently developed worse because they focus more on money. After your recent experiences, have you ever thought about pursuing a different career? Financially, yes, says David. “But I will always do my best to get as far as I can. If at some point it doesn’t work anymore, I have to accept it.” But only then.

With all the obstacles, it pays to have a friend who knows this world from the inside out. In Formula 4, David became a rookie champion with the US Racing team, which was co-driven by his father. Ralph has always been his mentor, manager, and leadership coach. They’ve been living together for a long time, but only see each other more often because of all the travel. “Because my dad has so much experience, I can take a lot from him,” David says. “He’s always completely open with me.”

Race driver David Schumacher: Ralf Schumacher (left) was the first to cross the finish line six times in 180 starts.  His brother Michael is a seven-time world champion in Formula 1 and designed the sport like few other sports.

Ralf Schumacher (left) was the first to cross the finish line six times in 180 starts. His brother Michael is a seven-time world champion in Formula 1 and designed the sport like few other sports.

(Photo: Click image Baumann / Imago)

He believes he is in the right place to continue his career. Formula 2 is not an option anyway. Father and son discussed this at length. As well as whether lost guarantors can be compensated by another private investment. “But the chances of success were very slim, most of the good teams had their own drivers, and that would have been a waste of money,” says David.

For him, this year is all about learning. The transition to a GT is a big deal: technical systems like ABS require a different approach. Some of the 28 competitors – including Britain’s Esmee Hawkey as the only woman – have many years of experience in the GT series and in the DTM. Among them are Schumacher’s teammates, Lucas Auer and defending champion Maximilian Götz. It won’t be easy.

David Schumacher has not yet thought about what will happen after this season: “I’m a spontaneous person. I never set a schedule, and I never will. I think this does more harm than helps.” Perhaps it will bring him his way back into the world of formula, perhaps one day there will be two Schumachers in Formula 1 again. Perhaps itinerant auto racing will be more than just an offshoot. However, he will continue the family tradition. Michael – only a few races – and Ralf drove both in the DTM. But Schumacher is not yet a hero here.

Leave a Comment