Schumacher and Vettel proved a winning combination at the Race of Champions six times in the past. Now it's time for a new generation, as Michael's son Mick Schumacher teams up with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
European Formula 3 champion Mick Schumacher announced on Tuesday that he would team up with Sebastian Vettel for Germany at the Race of Champions event in Mexico this January.
The pairing restores one of the most successful combos in the event's history: Vettel and Mick's father Michael Schumacher won the Nations Cup trophy for Team Germany six times in a row, from 2007 to 2012.
"I'm honored to enter this competition, which my father always loved and in which he set the bar very high together with Sebastian," Mick Schumacher said. "There are so many renowned drivers in action and I'm looking forward to competing against them and getting to know them better; I'm looking forward to the fun we'll all have together and which we'll offer for the spectators in Mexico."
This year's Race of Champions (RoC) — a lighthearted event involving a series of time trials in varying machinery that attracts many top drivers during motor sport's off-season — will take place on a purpose-built track at the Mexico City circuit used in Formula 1, on January 19 and 20.
'Sure to be an emotional moment'
RoC president Fredrik Johnsson said he "can't begin to express how thrilled we are" at the news of Mick following in his father's footsteps at the event.
"His father Michael has been a friend of the Race of Champions for many years, and of course his contribution both on and off the track has been immense," Johnsson said. "Of course Mick is here entirely on merit, having shown the world what he can do all season en rote to the FIA F3 European Championship."
The event pits some of the world's best drivers against each other in an array of identical machinery; as such, it's considered a good opportunity for youngsters to prove their worth against senior opponents
Schumacher the younger, 19, was particularly strong in the second half of the season in the European F3 title race, notching eight wins in the last 15 races of the season to overtake his rivals and claim the 2018 title.
"Now we are excited to see what he can do in the identical supercars at RoC Mexico," Johnsson said. "When Mick lines up with Sebastian Vettel for Team Germany in Saturday's RoC Nations Cup, it is sure to be an emotional moment for everyone involved. Imagine the roar from the crowd if they can find a way to lift the trophy."
Since Michael Schumcaher's severe head injury, sustained skiing late in 2013, Vettel had been partnering either with Nico Hülkenberg or Pascal Wehrlein for Germany at the event. In 2017, Vettel won the Nations Cup pairs' event driving solo, after getting special dispensation to do all the driving for Team Germany after Wehrlein was injured in a crash on the opening day.
Schumacher has already been linked with possible future drives in Formula 1, although in September, Red Bull's driver recruitment mogul Helmut Marko dismissed rumors that the Toro Rosso team had shortlisted him for the 2019 season.
Other German media reports suggest the rising star is seeking a drive in F2 — one rung below F1 — next season with the well-funded French team ART Grand Prix. The outfit has been a consistent front-runner in recent years in the single-seater race series considered the "feeder" series to Formula 1. Past ART drivers to graduate to the top series include Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc, Nico Hülkenberg and Jules Bianchi.