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2019 F1

Former Ferrari boss plays down Schumacher hype

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A former Ferrari team boss has dismissed the hype surrounding Mick Schumacher.

The top member of Ferrari’s development academy, Formula 2 driver Schumacher tested both the Ferrari and the Alfa Romeo last week in Bahrain to great fanfare.

But Cesare Fiorio, who ran Ferrari in the late 80s and early 90s, is not impressed with the son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher.

“In Formula 2 he’s driving a very competitive car, but he took an eighth and a sixth place” in Bahrain, he told tuttomotoriweb.com.

“In F1 testing he was second, but with a set of tyres two steps softer than Verstappen, who was faster than him,” Fiorio added.

“By now, Mick Schumacher doesn’t look competitive to me, but anyway they are making a big fuss around him.”

Fiorio, 79, also thinks new team boss Mattia Binotto made a mistake to appoint Sebastian Vettel the ‘number 1’ driver in 2019.

“Frankly, I was expecting Charles Leclerc to be a big problem for Vettel from the start,” he said.

“Binotto is a very good engineer who knows how to make fast cars, but probably he wasn’t expecting Leclerc to be immediately competitive. This will create an issue for him.

“If I had to decide, I wouldn’t appoint a first and a second driver, but I’d leave them free to race. Just like I did with Prost and Mansell, who were very competitive but never had a problem with one another,” he said.

Fiorio also said Vettel makes “way too many mistakes when he’s under pressure”, but advised Binotto to rally behind the German.

“Ferrari will have to take a little bit of pressure off him, but being in a very close battle with Mercedes it’s not easy.

“For sure in the long term, Leclerc is the man to rely on,” he said.

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