Ferrari says Mick Schumacher shares father Michael's racing traits

SHANGHAI, China -- Mick Schumacher's approach to racing is very similar to his legendary father, Michael, according to Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto.

Mick, the 20-year-old son of seven-time Formula One world champion Michael, enjoyed his first day inside the cockpit of a Ferrari at last week's Bahrain test, completing 56 laps as mother Corinna watched on from the pit wall. The youngster is part of the Ferrari junior programme this year and many believe he will be on the F1 grid in the near future.

The Schumacher name is synonymous with Ferrari, with Michael winning five of his championships consecutively with the team at the start of the 2000s, the most dominant period in F1 history. Binotto worked alongside Schumacher as an engineer in those days and says he can already see a lot of the same characteristics in Mick.

"The very first time I saw [Mick], after many years in Maranello, I didn't think he was looking very similar [to Michael]," Binotto said. "But the way he's behaving is very similar. The way he approaches the exercise, the way he's interested in the car and discussing it with technicians.

"Even in Maranello, he's always in the workshop looking at the car, speaking with the mechanics and I think that's very similar to his father."

Carrying the Schumacher name is always going to add extra pressure, but Binotto insists expectations were managed ahead of Mick's first test.

"It was his very first day in an F1 car [and] the objective was not really to assess the performance," Binotto said. "I think what was certainly positive was the way he approached the exercise, the approach to the day of testing, never pushing to the limit, trying to improve run-by-run, learning the car, learning the team, and I think in that respect he did a very good job. I think that's the most you may expect on such a day."

Schumacher is the reigning F3 champion but has stepped up to compete in F2 this season. Despite plenty of speculation, at this stage there's no seat lined up for him in Formula One for 2020.