FAMOUS FOOTSTEPS: Mick Schumacher is following in his famous father's footsteps going from karting to F4. Image: AFP.
FRANKFURT, Germany - Michael Schumacher's 15-year-old son Mick has outgrown kart racing and is moving up to Formula 4, a series for young talents, a report says.
The young Schumacher has signed a contract with Dutch team Van Amersfoort Racing to drive in Formula 4 events.
Team owner Frits van Amersfoort said: "We have watched his skills in test driving and are looking forward to a successful season."
The son of the most successful driver in F1 history had his start in racing in the same kart series as his famous father who honed his skills on a circuit near the family's home before moving on to F3 and later F1 glory - but in late 2013 suffered severe head injuries in a skiing fall.
He had retired from F1 - for the second time - when he fell. Today (March 2015) he is still living under close medical care at his and his wife Corinna's home on the shore of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
With seven titles, Schumacher is the most successful F1 driver in history. His brother Ralf was also an F1 driver and is still involved with motor sport.
Mick Schumacher was second in the world, European and German kart championships in 2014, driving as Mick Junior or under his mother's maiden name to protect his privacy. He will make his debut for Amersfoort in Oschersleben, Germany, over April 25/26, by which time he will be 16.
LOW PROFILE ENDS
F4, a new single-seat category under International Automobile Federation standards, is for young drivers with a background in karting. Frits van Amersfoort said: "In the last couple of years it has become a tradition for us that we offer the runner-up from the German Junior Karting championship a test in our simulator.
"This is handled by the German motorsport authority and that is how in 2014 we first got in touch with Mick Schumacher. He spent a full day in the simulator at our HQ in The Netherlands. Then we watched him during a test session at Valencia and eventually we reached an agreement to compete together in this year's ADAC F4 series."
Meanwhile, the GMM agency reported that the low profile enjoyed by Mick Schumacher had now come to an end with the announcement that he was going to step out of karts.
Van Amersfoort admitted that the high-profile Verstappen graduation "certainly contributed" to the team's signing of the young Schumacher.
The family has closely guarded its privacy during 14 months since Schumacher snr's fall, to the extent that the actual state of Schumacher's health is not known. Now, 15-year-old Mick will be in the spotlight.
VERSTAPPEN STARTED INTEREST
According to Swiss newspaper Blick, Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm warned: "Any (media) coverage that goes behind the purely sporting aspect will continue to be not accepted.
"Mick is not active on social media."
The Van Amersfoort team drew news media attention recently when Max Verstappen, just two years older than Mick, rose straight from its F3 outfit into F1 with Toro Rosso.
"Without Max we would still be 'a team from the Netherlands'," Frits van Amersfoort told the De Telegraaf newspaper. "Suddenly now we are the team of Max."
Verstappen, son of Michael Schumacher's former team mate Jos Verstappen, is set to become the youngest driver to start an F1 race when the season opens in Australia on March 15, by which time he will be 17 and driving for Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso.
R1m FOR THE SEASON
Meanwhile, a report from F1 aggregator GMM claims Schumacher jnr's move into single-seater racing will cost his family or sponsors the equivalent of about R1-million for the season.
That's the claim of major German news daily Bild on Mick's move into German Formula 4.
"In Formula 4," former former International Automobile Federation single-seater chief Gerhard Berger was quoted as saying "the boys need to earn their laurels".