David Schumacher at DTM: The name obliges – Sport

Again and again this question. David Schumacher found his answer long ago. Yet he continues to hear this question often, it is part of his life, part of his family history. So: How much does he expect extra – like Schumacher in motorsport? “I do not know how it is for others. “I only know that and I got used to it from the beginning”, says the 20-year-old. “I do not feel more pressure than others.

David is the son of Ralf Schumacher, who drove in Formula 1 for ten years and won six Grand Prix in 180 starts. He is Michael’s grandson, seven-time world champion, tall record holder in many statistics of this series, formative like few others, an icon. And he is Mick’s cousin, who has driven for Team Haas in Formula 1 since 2021 and has also been a reserve driver at Ferrari since 2022, the traditional racing team with which his father Michael won the title five times . When you think of motorsport, you think of Schumacher. This can open doors and generate great attention, as with Mick. But it can also lead to the experience that Schumacher is not just Schumacher – and probably should not be.

David Schumacher did not get enough sponsors for Formula 2: “It surprised me myself.”

When the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) kicks off this weekend in Portimao, Portugal, David will be driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Team Winward. It makes a detour from the route usually planned on the way to the main class: Formula 3, Formula 2, Formula 1. However, even great sporting success does not guarantee a cab. Money plays an increasingly important role. And there are only 20 seats.

Oscar Piastri, for example, directly won both youth series – however in 2022 in Formula 1 it was only enough for one replacement pilot in the Alpine because the others bring in a lot of money. Like a dowry. In Formula 2, a competing team would need around four million euros for a season. Paying that amount from the family fund – so far Ralph has borne a large part of the cost – seemed very risky, no less so after the Piastri case. But David did not get enough sponsors for Formula 2, so even his last name did not help. “It surprised me myself,” he says. “But this series does not offer enough marketing space as a platform, it does not penetrate outside because it is barely broadcast.”

GT3 instead of formula: David Schumacher will drive for the Mercedes-AMG Team Winward at DTM this season. The first of eight dates will take place this weekend in Portimao.

(Photo: Thomas Pakusch / Imago)

Why does what worked for the other not work for the one? Ralf Schumacher said in an interview with SZ in March that he had hoped for more interest because “it would have worked well in synergy with Mick”. But motorsport is no longer so popular with companies, and there is a difference. Mick was fortunate to receive strong financial support from Ferrari and the Deutsche Vermögensberatung: “And his father was already a hero somewhere.”

While Mick was protected for a long time, it was not necessary for David that way

The excitement that Michael created no matter where he went, the curiosity and fascination around him were great. And they switched to Mick. Even when the 23-year-old was driving in Formula 4, he was surrounded by photographers, sometimes for minutes. Hardly anyone else is interested in the series, though some descendants of well-known racing drivers have already started here. But the noise in the small classrooms was not as loud as it was for Mick, probably not for someone else. So he defended as best he could until Formula 3.

With David it was not necessary that way. Even the way he speaks shows that he was socialized differently. Polite, open and reflective, like his cousin, but not with the reserve he had shown at first, being under constant surveillance. “Thankfully, more and more Mick was paying attention,” says David. “I was calm. On the one hand, I’m happy about it. On the other hand, it would have been an advantage in terms of sponsorship if we had not competed in the youth series at the same time.”

Facial expressions, gestures, language, approach – many always look for Michael in Mick. David is not so much related to his father, but rather to his cousin, who has already achieved what he too wants to achieve. Mick won Formula 3 and Formula 2 in his second year before entering Formula 1 and the noise became even bigger: Michael’s son! Finally a Schumacher again! David finished his first season in Formula 3 without points, second in eleventh place. In the third weekend of the race in 2021 he won the second of three races. “It really liberated me and helped me mentally. After that, self-doubt went away and things just went uphill,” he says. “So much time without points – you start to wonder at some point.” He knows he has to be more successful in order to reach the degree.

Racing driver David Schumacher: The next generation: David and Mick Schumacher (right), here in 2018 at the Nürburgring.

Next generation: David and Mick Schumacher (right), here in 2018 at the Nürburgring.

(Photo: Thomas Pakusch / Imago)

The road to Formula 1, says father Ralf Schumacher, “is simply no longer affordable”. However, David wants to try. Even if you find that motorsport in the categories with one place has developed worse recently because it is more focused on money. After your recent experiences, have you ever considered pursuing another career? Financially, yes, says David. “But I will always do my best to achieve as much as I can. If at some point it no longer works, I have to accept that.” But only then.

With all obstacles, it helps to have a confidant who knows this world from within. In Formula 4, David became a beginner champion with the American Racing team, which was co-led by his father. Ralph has always been his mentor, manager and coach. They have been living together for a long time, only they see each other less often because of all the travels. “Because my dad has a lot of experience, I can get a lot out of him,” says David. “He is always completely open with me.”

Racing driver David Schumacher: Ralf Schumacher (left) was the first to cross the finish line six times in 180 starts.  His brother, Michael, is a seven-time Formula 1 world champion and shaped the sport like few others.

Ralf Schumacher (left) was the first to cross the finish line six times in 180 starts. His brother, Michael, is a seven-time Formula 1 world champion and shaped the sport like few others.

(Photo: Press photo Baumann / Imago)

He thinks he is in the right place to continue his career. Formula 2 is not an option anyway. Father and son discussed this at length. Also if missing sponsors can be compensated with another private investment. “But the chances of success were so slim, most good teams had their pilots, it would be a waste of money,” says David.

For him, this year is about learning. The transition to a GT car is huge: more weight and technical systems like ABS require a different approach. Some of the 28 competitors – including Britain’s Esmee Hawkey as the only woman – have many years of experience in the GT series and DTM. Schumacher teammates Lucas Auer and reigning champion Maximilian Götz are among them. It will not be easy.

David Schumacher has not yet thought about what comes after this season: “I am a spontaneous person. I have never set a schedule and I will never do it. I think it does more harm than good.” Maybe his path will take him to the world of formulas, maybe one day there will be two Schumachers in Formula 1 again. Maybe car touring will be more than just a branch. Even so, the family tradition would continue. Michael – just a few races – and Ralf both drove in the DTM. But no Schumacher has yet become champion here.

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