Vettel ‘more a friend’ than a mentor to Mick

Jon Wilde
Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher playing a game. Austin October 2021.

Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher playing a game in the United States Grand Prix paddock. Austin October 2021.

Sebastian Vettel says he sees himself as “more a friend” to Mick Schumacher, even though he appears to have acted as his Formula 1 mentor.

The two Germans have formed a close bond, one that has been valued highly by Schumacher because his father Michael, the seven-time former World Champion, is unable to attend races.

Schumacher junior recently spoke of how Vettel has been helping him avoid “mistakes” of a political nature in the F1 paddock, which it was put to him during an interview can be something of a “shark tank”.

However, the four-time former World Champion prefers not to see his relationship with the 22-year-old as being too paternal, instead regarding him as a mate – although not one he has a competitive rivalry with.

Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher shake hands. Baku June 2021
Good friends Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher shake hands. Baku June 2021

Asked during an interview with F1-Insider whether he feels any responsibility towards the Haas driver, Vettel, for whom Schumacher’s father was a childhood hero, replied: “Not really. Of course, the bond is there through Michael.

“But Mick comes from a very good family. He’s a very sensible, well-mannered young man who is now ready to go his own way. He’s doing that very well.

“His work ethic reminds me of his father. I sincerely wish him a car with which he can make more of a mark next year.

“But I am more a friend than someone who feels responsibility. You are always there for friends. That’s why I have zero competitive thoughts towards him and I am happy to pass on my experience.”

Vettel indicated the approach he described also extended to his team-mates and at his current squad, Aston Martin, he has a colleague in Lance Stroll who is less than 18 months older than Schumacher, and therefore 11 years younger than himself.

“I’m not the type who weighs everything up in a paranoid way anyway, in order to have my own advantages and play games,” added Vettel. “It also doesn’t make sense to me to withhold certain things from team-mates.

“I rather see the big picture, that we want to progress as a team. Today we are able to see everything transparently through data anyway.”

 

Schumacher is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and even though Vettel was unable to become World Champion there, he would certainly not dissuade his young compatriot from taking a race seat with the Scuderia if and when one becomes available.

“I still had some good years and the brand will always be something special,” said Vettel.

“In any case, I wouldn’t advise him against it because of the few things that didn’t work out so well for me.

“People tend to always see the glass half empty in memories. I prefer to see it half full and the positive outweighs the negative.”

 

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