FOLLOWING FOOTSTEPS: Mick Schumacher Jnr celebrates on podium after winning a F4 race. Image: AFP / Ronny Hartmann
Berlin, Germany - The Schumacher name looks set to continue in motorsport after Mick Jnr, son of Germany's seven-time Formula 1 World Champion, finished his debut Formula 4 season tenth overall on Sunday (October 4).
Mick Jnr (16) told German broadcaster Sport1: "The season was fun, we'll have to see about 2016."
His famous father enjoyed 91 wins and 155 podium finishes in his F1 career but Mick Jnr's introduction to motorsport was more modest.
Over the season's 24 races, at eight venues, Schumacher Jnr made the podium twice for the Dutch team Van Amersfoort Racing, but many of his rivals have a few years' experience at this level as 18-year-old Marvin Dienst won the series.
After the high of winning at Germany's Oschersleben track in the third race on the opening weekend in April - when he won the best rookie trophy - Schumacher Jnr experienced a few setbacks.
He managed to finish third when the F4 series returned to Oschersleben in September and his highest finish in the three races at Hockenheim this weekend was fifth.
Frits van Amersfoort, Schumacher's team boss, said: "He's made huge strides forwards. Mick was lucky with his first win. Then things went a bit downhill, but then he found his feet and things improved.
"Now we see that Mick is a strong player in the field."
Having graduated to F4 after a successful career as a Kart racer, Schumacher has got to grips with the faster car.
Van Amersfoort said: "The boys have grown up, just like the cars. It often happens with 16-year-olds, whether they are Mick Schumacher or anyone else."
Michael Schumacher first retired from F1 in 2006, after winning five titles in succession for Ferrari from 2000-2004 and then returned for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons, but never finished higher than eighth overall.
As his father continues to recover from the serious head injury he suffered during a skiing accident in December 2013, Mick Jnr has largely been shielded from the media's glare, thanks to Schumacher Snr's manager.
Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's manager, said: "I am very pleased with how the season went, the learning curve was very steep and it was clear things wouldn't continue as they had done in the first weekend.
"For his athletic and personal development, it was a good year. We'll now calmly look at how things will continue."
Live up to the family name
One future option open to Schumacher Jnr is to graduate to Formula 3 as Van Amersfoort compete in the higher class - one of the reasons the teenager opted for the Dutch team.
The teenager will need to live up to the family name with regular victories if his career is to progress.
Amersfoort said: "Experience is important, but you can only progress in motor racing, when you have success, because success speaks for itself."
However, Schumacher is likely to be snapped up by any motor racing team in Germany and is an asset to the F4 series, says the boss of the sport's main sponsor.
Herman Tomcyzk, president of the sports arm of F4 sponsors ADAC, said: "He is well-known and has a big name, which will always have a significance in Germany."