Ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher has painted a bleak picture when it comes to German motorsport, saying there is a “huge problem”.
Not since the beginning of the 1990s has there been a Formula 1 season without a German driver on the grid, but that may be set to change.
Sebastian Vettel is the final German driver on the current grid, but he has announced that he will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 season and it is possible that he could walk away from Formula 1 entirely.
And scouring through the junior ranks Ralf’s nephew Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, is the only German prospect it seems with a clear path to Formula 1.
Speaking to Sport 1, Schumacher said: “Mick has proven that he can drive. Otherwise he would not be Formula 3 champion.
“His first year in Formula 2 was quite passable, he had some good results and even a win. That is all well and good, but it is reassessed every year.
“He is now entering his second year. He doesn’t necessarily have to win, but he should be in the top five or ideally in the top three. You shouldn’t put too much pressure on him either. So far, the signs are good. He’s also a Ferrari junior, so he’s got all the options.”
But for Schumacher the “huge problems” that German motorsport faces originates from the lack of karting opportunities and race tracks.
“There have always been phases in Formula One where some countries have been very strong. The Germans had a huge hype, which my brother certainly triggered,” he explained.
“There was huge interest in Germany, also in terms of marketing, TV and viewers. That’s turned a little bit. We don’t feel that way anymore.
“Even if you can’t tell by the number of drivers, the hype from Lewis Hamilton in England is very strong right now. I could imagine that there is still a lot to come from England.
“In Germany, all motorsport is struggling. I have been talking about a huge problem for eight years. This starts with karting: we hardly have any more tracks, the kart drivers are getting less and less. If I don’t have seedlings, I don’t have any trees at the end of the day. That is what is happening to us now.”