Johnny Herbert reckons Mick Schumacher has to compete in Formula 2 this year if he hopes to race in Formula 1, as he has not shown the “bang” of Lando Norris nor George Russell.
Last season, Schumacher’s first in the F2 series, the German was 12th in the championship with 53 points.
A large percentage of that came from his Hungarian sprint race victory. That, though, was Schumacher’s only visit to the podium.
It has raised a few doubts with Herbert as to whether Schumacher has what it takes to make it into F1.
He said of Schumacher’s performances last season: “Nothing that I would class as startling as we saw with Lando and George. His race win in Hungary was very well controlled, very mature in the way that he was able to look after his tyres and the manner he kept up the pace he needed to.
Too early for F1
Herbert adds: “I know it was a reverse grid so he was on pole position, but it was a good win. In my experience, when you have a win like that, you’re confidence grows. You go to the next race and actually, your performance goes up. With Schumacher, his performance didn’t go up. He was around seventh, eighth.
“It was his first season, but all of the guys that make a statement in the lower Formulas go in and go bang! It’s the George and Lando situation and past drivers have also done the same thing. He was good, but needs improvement.”
The 20-year-old, son of Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher, has been linked to a seat with Ferrari in the future with the Scuderia team boss saying he is a “good candidate”.
Herbert, though, reckons it is too early to determine whether Schumacher will step up.
He said: “It’s a bit early for Mick on that front, but his demeanour is very good. He’s a very nice young man and they’ve brought him on in a very nice way. But results speak. That’s the big thing. It was OK what he did when he did the Ferrari-Alfa test and they were OK, but I only heard rumours of what fuel and tyres he was running, so it’s a hard one to properly read.”
The former F1 driver, who was a team mate of Michael’s, added that 2020 will be a very big season for the youngster in determining his future.
InsideRacing quotes Herbert as having said during the Autosport International event: “It’s probably an important season this year. If you stay in F2 for too long, if you do a four-year stint, which has happened a couple of times for people like Pastor Maldonado and Jolyon Palmer, it hasn’t really turned into anything particularly brilliant.
“He has to do it, in my eyes, this year.”