Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel says he is hopeful compatriot Mick Schumacher will land a seat in Formula 1 next year.
Schumacher was due to be driving for Alfa Romeo in first practice for this weekend’s Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, but poor conditions saw the session cancelled.
The German is leading the Formula 2 championship for Prema with four rounds remaining in the season, and reports suggest he is in the frame to fill one of the two Alfa Romeo seats in 2021.
Vettel believes Schumacher’s form in F2 shows he is more than worthy of securing a place on the F1 grid next season, joking he “didn’t care” the attention would be diverted away from him at his home race.
“I think he deserves his shot this weekend,” Vettel said as quoted by Motorsport.com. “And hopefully we see him not only tomorrow, but hopefully another Friday this year. And then hopefully in the car in a race seat next year. I think that’s what I wish for him.
“Obviously he’s having a great season, he’s leading the F2 championship, and as I said, I hope he can seal the seat for next year.
“I think he’s a great kid. I really like him. And I’m sure he’s going to go a long way and do well. So this is probably just a sort of kick-off for him.”
Schumacher, a member of the Ferrari driver academy, is following in the footsteps of Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc, who graduated from the academy in 2018.
Leclerc insisted the 21-year-old doesn’t “have to prove anything” given his impressive performances that has seen him rack up 10 podiums in F2 this year.
“Looking at the conditions of this weekend, it’s probably not the easiest of debuts,” Leclerc said. “But speaking to him, I think every time he tried a new car, it was always in the rain. So it won’t change much for him.
“It is going to be a tricky session. But he doesn’t have to prove anything. I think he has proved everything he had to in F2 this season. And I’m sure he will do a great job tomorrow.”
Current Alfa driver Kimi Raikkonen, who raced against Schumacher’s father Michael, was also full of praise for the young German.
“We spoke some years back already, and he’s a great guy, and a copy of his father in many ways,” Raikkonen said. “It’s great to see him, I think it’s nice that he’ll be in the car tomorrow. It’s a shame for Antonio, but it’s FP1.
“Hopefully the weather is going to be okay, so we get normal running. If it’s miserable like today it’s not gonna be that much fun, but I think it’s great to see him during his first appearance, especially with us.”