David Schumacher in DTM: The Name Commits – Sports

Again and again this question. David Schumacher found his answer a long time ago. Nevertheless, he keeps hearing the question often, it’s part of his life, part of his family’s history. So: How much does he feel extra expectations – like Schumacher in motorsport? “I do not know what it’s like for others. I only know it that way and have gotten used to it from the start,” the 20-year-old says. “I do not feel more pressure than others. I put most of the pressure on myself and a little bit from my father.”

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 nephew, seven-time world champion, long record holder in many statistics in this series, formative like few others, an icon. And he is Mick’s cousin, who has been driving for Team Haas in Formula 1 since 2021 and has also been a reserve driver for Ferrari since 2022, the traditional racing team that his father Michael won the title with five times. When you think of motorsport, you think of Schumacher. It can open doors and create huge attention, as with Mick. But it can also lead to the experience that Schumacher is not just Schumacher – and it may not have to be.

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

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. He takes a detour from the route that is usually planned on the way to the best class: Formula 3, Formula 2, Formula 1. Even great success in the sport does not guarantee a cockpit. Money is playing an increasingly important role. And there are only 20 seats.

Oscar Piastri, for example, won both junior series directly – nevertheless, in 2022 in Formula 1 it was only enough for a substitute in Alpine, because others come with a lot of money. As a dowry. In Formula 2, a competitive team would need around four million euros for a season. Paying this amount from the family fund – so far Ralf has borne a large part of the costs – seemed too risky, not least after the Piastri case. But David did not get enough sponsors for Formula 2, so his last name did not help either. “It surprised me,” he says. “But this series does not offer enough marketing space as a platform, it does not get through to the outside because it is hardly broadcast.”

GT3 instead of formula: David Schumacher is driving for Mercedes-AMG Team Winward in DTM this season. The first of eight dates takes 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 among companies and there is a difference. Mick was fortunate that he received strong financial support from Ferrari and the Deutsche Vermögensberatung: “And his father was already a hero somewhere.”

While Mick was shielded for a long time, it was not necessary for David in this way

The enthusiasm that Michael created, no matter where he went, the curiosity and fascination around him was enormous. And they went over 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 race drivers have already started here. But the trouble in the junior classes was hardly as great as the one about Mick, probably not about anyone else. So he was shielded as best he could until Formula 3.

With David, it was not necessary in this way. The way he speaks also shows that he was socialized differently. Polite, open and reflective, like his cousin, but not with the reservation he had shown in the beginning, under constant observation. “Fortunately, more and more Mick was paying attention,” says David. “I was calm. On the one hand, I’m happy about that. On the other hand, it would have been an advantage in terms of sponsorship if we had not ridden in junior ranks at the same time.”

Facial expressions, gestures, language, approach – many are always looking for Michael in Mick. David is not so strongly attached to his father, but rather to his cousin, who has already achieved what he also wants to achieve. Mick won Formula 3 and Formula 2 in his second year before entering Formula 1, and the hype got even bigger: Michael’s son! Finally a Schumacher again! David finished his first Formula 3 season without points, the second as eleventh. By the third race weekend of 2021, he won the second of three races. “It really set me free and helped me mentally. After that, the self-doubt disappeared and things just went uphill,” he says. “As long as no points – you start questioning yourself at some point.” He knows he needs to have greater success to get up the ladder.

Race 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”. Nevertheless, David would like to try. Even though he experiences that motorsport in the categories with single seats has recently developed worse because it is more focused on money. After your recent experiences, did you ever think about pursuing another career? Economically, yes, says David. “But I will always do my best to get as far as I can. If at some point it doesn’t work anymore, I have to accept it.” But only then.

With all the obstacles, it helps to have a confidant who knows this world inside and out. In Formula 4, David became a rookie champion with the American Racing team, which was led by his father. Ralf has always been his mentor, manager and driving coach. They have lived together for a long time, but they see each other less often because of all the travel. “Because my dad has a lot of experience, I can take a lot from him,” David says. “He’s always completely open to me.”

Race 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 this 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 this sport like few others.

(Photo: Press photo Baumann / Imago)

He believes he is in the right place to continue his career. Formula 2 is still not an option. Father and son discussed this for a long time. Also whether the missing sponsors could be compensated by another private investment. “But the chances of success were so small that most good teams had their drivers, it would have been a waste of money,” says David.

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

David Schumacher has yet to think about what comes after this season: “I’m a spontaneous person. I’ve never set a schedule, and I never will. I think it does more harm than good.” Maybe his path will lead him back to the formula world, maybe one day there will be two Schumachers in Formula 1 again. Maybe touring car racing will be more than just a branch. Still, he wanted to continue the family tradition. Michael – only a few races – and Ralf both rode in the DTM. But no Schumacher has yet become a champion here.

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