Alfa Romeo will announce their line up for the 2021 season after the October 9 Grand Prix and are thought to be keen on promoting the 21-year-old from F2 to F1.
“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”
British driver Callum Ilott, another Ferrari prospect, will also test in a Haas (like Alfa Romeo, Haas is a Ferrari customer team). A third Ferrari academy driver, Russian Robert Shwartzman, will get his chance in Formula One during testing at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – the last event of the season.
Schumacher and Ilott, both 21, have previously driven in F1 testing, while Shwartzmann – who sits fifth in the F2 standings – has never driven an F1 car.
At least one of the trio is expected to be promoted to the top division next season, almost certainly with Haas or Alfa Romeo.
Bottas claims Russian GP
For Alfa Romeo, Antonio Giovinazzi’s seat is up for grabs, with the experienced Mexican Sergio Perez and German Nico Hulkenberg also in the running.
Whoever is picked will likely team up with 40-year-old 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, although he has not yet confirmed he will continue racing in 2021.
Haas has Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen on their books, but has not confirmed either driver for next season.
Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies, who is also the director of the Ferrari driver academy, said: “We wanted to organise this test session so that our three best youngsters would be as well prepared as possible to tackle an event that will always be a special moment for them.
‘They’re trying to stop me’
Mick was just 14 when his father suffered a severe brain injury in a skiing accident, while with him in the French Alps. He remained in a medically induced coma, in Grenoble, until June 2014.
Since then, he has been remained under private treatment at his home in Switzerland. Schumacher won seven titles with Benetton and Ferrari before retiring from the sport, for the second time, in 2012.
Just when you thought the Michael Schumacher updates couldn’t get any thinner — the latest breaking news on the F1 legend has come from Italian Big Brother.
Model and TV presenter Elisabetta Gregoraci is a contestant on the reality TV show and the ex-wife of Flavio Briatore — Schumacher’s former boss at the Benetton F1 team, who he drove for in the early 1990s before moving to Ferrari.
She claims the seven-time world champion, who suffered severe brain injuries after a skiing accident in the French Alps in 2013, can only communicate with his eyes, and is being cared for in a Spanish villa.
Gregoraci said during an episode of Big Brother Schumacher was moved from his home in Switzerland into a luxurious property on the Mediterranean island of Majorca, which has been transformed into a hospital — with only a few visitors allowed.
According to reports by local Spanish publications, Schumacher’s wife Corinna bought the villa — located on a huge estate on the south-west of the island — from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
“Michael doesn’t speak, he communicates with his eyes,” Gregoraci said. “They moved to Spain and his wife has set up a hospital in that house.
“Only three people can visit him and I know who they are.”
Of course, reality TV has a reputation for actually being far removed from reality, so Gregoraci’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt.
Schumacher’s condition has been a closely guarded secret, with his family — in particular Corinna — determined to protect the motorsport icon’s privacy.
Gregoraci’s claims come after leading neurosurgeon Erich Riederer told a documentary that aired on French TV this month Schumacher was in a “vegetative state” and was “awake but not responding”.
“He is breathing, his heart is beating, he can probably sit up and take baby steps with help, but no more,” Riederer said.
“I think that’s the maximum for him. Is there any chance of seeing him like he was before his accident? I really don’t think so.”
Schumacher’s former Ferrari boss Jean Todt has visited the F1 great numerous times and said last year he was making “good progress” but also “struggles to communicate”. Earlier this month Todt, 74, said the Scuderia’s most successful driver was fighting to overcome the devastating injuries he suffered seven years ago.
“I saw Michael last week. He is fighting,” Todt told the PA news agency.
“My God, we know he had a terrible and unfortunate skiing accident which has caused him a lot of problems. But he has an amazing wife next to him, he has his kids, his nurses, and we can only wish him the best and to wish the family the best, too.
“All I can do is to be close to them until I am able to do something, and then I will do it.”
While details around Schumacher’s health remain largely a mystery — even with Gregoraci’s update — what’s not in doubt is son Mick’s promising future as he follows in his famous dad’s footsteps.
Mick moved a step closer to a spot on the 2021 F1 circuit when Alfa Romeo announced it would again test the 21-year-old.
Mick, who was 14 when Schumacher had his accident, improved his hopes of landing a drive by winning the Sochi Formula 2 feature race last weekend, which extended his lead in the title race over Callum Ilott.
He will now take the wheel of the top of the range Alfa Romeo ahead of the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany in two weeks’ time.
Alfa Romeo will announce its line-up for the 2021 season after the October 9 Grand Prix and is thought to be keen on promoting the 21-year-old from F2 to F1.
“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Mick said. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”
If he impresses, Mick could be in the running for Antonio Giovinazzi’s seat along with several other Ferrari Academy proteges as well as the experienced Mexican Sergio Perez and German Nico Hulkenberg.
Hamilton, who led from pole position, was hit with two five-second penalties for pre-race misdemeanours that wrecked his bid for a record-equalling 91st Grand Prix win.
Masi, who took over as the top official at races representing the International Motoring Federation (FIA) in the aftermath of Charlie Whiting’s sudden death in Melbourne last year, flatly rejected Hamilton’s post-race comments.
“I think from an FIA perspective we are there as a sporting regulator to administer the regulations,” the Australian said late Sunday.
“We have the stewards as an independent judiciary to adjudicate those.
“There was an infringement and it doesn’t matter if it was Lewis Hamilton or any one of the other 19 drivers — if a breach has occurred they will consider it on its merits.
“Further to that, I would say they adjudicate it equitably and fairly in the circumstances, taking all of the key elements into account.”
Hamilton was penalised for performing irregular pre-race practice starts in the pit lane exit road and for inconsistent speed on the reconnaissance lap.
The sanctions, widely seen as too severe, effectively ended his hopes of winning in Sochi and levelling with Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Grand Prix victories.
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Bottas claims Russian GP
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff and described it as “far-fetched” but the team’s track engineering director Andy Shovlin admitted he was not surprised.
“We didn’t see the first one (start) and when we saw the second one, we thought ‘they’re not going to like that’, but we didn’t think it was dangerous,” Shovlin said.
“When we saw the car position, it wasn’t a complete surprise that they didn’t like it and, no doubt, there may have been teams who flagged it up — as much as whether the FIA or the stewards spotted it themselves.”
Hamilton finished a furious third behind Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, his lead in the drivers’ title race trimmed from 55 to 44 points by the Finn.
Masi ruled out any bias against Hamilton and said his door “is always open”, a phrase he used after a similar spat at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza where the Briton received another penalty that prevented him winning.
“From my perspective, it’s very simple that if Lewis wants to raise something — as I have said to him before and said to all of the drivers numerous times — the door is always open,” said Masi.
“I’m more than happy to discuss anything.” Hamilton was also given two penalty points on his racing license, but this was cancelled after a review. Instead, Mercedes were fined 25,000 euros ($29,000) for each infringement.