Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh celebrate winning their men’s doubles semi-final against Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto at the All England Open in Birmingham March 9, 2019. — Action Images pic via Reuters

Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh celebrate winning their men’s doubles semi-final against Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto at the All England Open in Birmingham March 9, 2019. — Action Images pic via Reuters

LONDON,. Mick Schumacher will be under “tremendous pressure” when he makes his Formula 2 debut later this month, said former F1 title-winning mastermind Ross Brawn.

Brawn worked with Mick’s stricken father Michael at Ferrari when the older Schumacher dominated Formula One more than a decade ago.

Michael Schumacher, who turned 50 in early January, drove for Ferrari from 1996 to 2006, winning five of his seven world titles with the team.

The German has not been seen in public since suffering a severe head injury while skiing with his son in December 2013 and his condition remains a closely guarded family secret.

Mick, who turns 20 later this month, won the European Formula 3 title last season and has joined Prema Racing, an Italian team allied with the Ferrari Drivers Academy, in Formula 2.

“I’ve known Mick since he was a little boy and it’s been fascinating,” said Brawn who is now F1’s sports director.

“I think there was a period when he wasn’t sure, but he has now got the bit between his teeth and he is a very determined young man.”

The younger Schumacher dominated F2 testing in Spain in late February.

“I think it is fascinating how his competitiveness kicked in during Formula 3 last year, and you’ve seen it again in Formula 2 in the first test,” Brawn said.

“People who know him, or spend more time with him than I do, say there has been impressive progress in his driving career in the last 12 months or so.

“But he is a very nice young man, and staying like that with the pressures and challenges that come, that will be one of the things that will be challenging for him,” Brawn said.

“He’s got a very balanced family and they have all known the experience from Michael, so they will know how to handle it if Mick is successful.

“There are so many times when I see Mick and I see Michael in him, so it would be wonderful.

“But there is tremendous pressure on the lad, so I hope people can keep that in perspective and not hook unrealistic expectations on him.”

The Formula 2 season begins on March 29 in Bahrain and Schumacher is relishing his debut.

“I’ve already got butterflies — it’s been long enough, now it needs to get going,” Mick Schumacher told Cologne-based newspaper Express after testing in Barcelona.

“This year I will be busy learning and developing myself as a driver,” he said when asked about his goals.

The 19-year-old says he has studied his father’s old races, saying “he is the best and my idol” and has made no secret of his desire to follow him into Formula One. — AFP