Schumacher Jr will make his F1 debut this weekend with Haas in the Bahrain Grand Prix, almost 30 years since Michael Schumacher began his glittering career at Spa in 1991.
The status of his father within F1’s history has led to great scrutiny of Schumacher throughout his junior career, as well as significant interest and support from Ferrari, the team with which Michael won five of his seven world titles.
Although Steiner never worked with the seven-time world champion, he said that Ferrari staff who did that are now at Haas have already commented on his son’s similarities.
“I’ve never worked with [Michael] and I didn’t know him that well, so I only know from the press and from TV that he was a hard worker,” Steiner told Autosport.
“We have a few people from Ferrari with us who have already worked with Michael, and they tell me what was it like. They knew Michael very well.
“They were very emotional when Mick came to us. They explain to me how Michael worked, and I think Mick is very similar.
“He works hard, he wants to know everything, he wants to learn, he just wants to get better – every day, every hour, every minute.”
Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Schumacher moves up to Haas after winning the Formula 2 title last year, and becomes the latest son of a world champion to make the step up to F1.
But the team is braced for Schumacher to have a tough rookie year after opting against significantly developing its VF-21 car, placing greater focus on the new regulations in 2022.
Steiner said the goal for Schumacher was “to learn as much as possible” through 2021 in order to be prepared for next season, warning the young driver’s fans not to expect big results this year.
“This year Mick won’t have any great results, because he doesn’t have the material for it,” Steiner said.
“But the big result for Mick will be that he learns as much as he can and is ready when our car gets better, when his future starts.
“He’s not just here for two years, which is usually in Formula 2 or Formula 3. He’s here for a long career. The first year in Formula 1 is always difficult when you get there, to be there right away and to be competitive. The material plays a huge role here.
“Knowing what kind of material [we have] this year – I don’t want to downplay it now – but we made a decision that we’re not going to develop this year in order to fully focus on next year.
“That’s why we can’t expect Mick to be P1 or P2 after the first qualifying session.”