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Schumacher hopes his son stays out of F1
Alan Baldwin | September 01, 2005 22:12 IST
Michael Schumacher would rather steer his son towards tennis or golf than a career in Formula One.
The most successful driver in the sport's history, with seven championships and an equally unprecedented 84 Grand Prix wins, said on Thursday he has no desire to see his son Mick racing.
"I would prefer he plays golf or tennis or something like that," the Ferrari driver told an Italian Grand Prix news conference.
"It's pretty tough to imagine my little one following in my steps," he added.
"If you think about what you guys would think and do and ask and so on, what pressure he would be under before he gets out of the shadow.
"That's a very heavy burden and I don't see any reason to emphasise to him to get to this. If he has another interest I would be much more happy."
Schumacher has two children, six-year-old Mick and daughter Gina Maria, who is eight.
The champion, whose younger brother Ralf drives for Toyota, is fiercely protective of their privacy and they do not attend races with him.
Only once in Formula One history has a son followed his father as champion -- Briton Damon Hill taking the title in 1996 after his late father Graham in 1962 and 1968.
Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, a Ferrari favourite, died in 1982 without becoming champion but his son Jacques took the title in 1997 with Williams.
Numerous former champions have supported their sons' attempts to break into Formula One, however.
Brazilian triple champion Nelson Piquet, Austria's Niki Lauda and Finland's Keke Rosberg all have sons racing in the GP2 series, the tier below Formula One.
Tomas Scheckter, son of South African Jody Scheckter who won the 1979 title with Ferrari, is meanwhile racing in America after failing to break into Formula One.
Schumacher's comments found an echo in Toyota's Italian Jarno Trulli, a race winner with Renault in 2004, who had his first son this year.
"I'd prefer him not to be a driver but if he wants he can try," he said.
"The pressure in this job is quite high...it's a difficult job, I think swimming or playing tennis looks much easier and nicer than being a Formula One driver."
However Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, a race winner with McLaren this year, and Renault's Italian Giancarlo Fisichella both said they would be happy for their sons to follow them.
"If he wants to race I'll support him, it he wants to do anything I'll be there for him," said Montoya of son Sebastian.
"It needs to be more of a hobby than a profession if you want to make it work," he cautioned however.
"That's the biggest mistake of a lot of the fathers when they've got their kids -- they say 'you're going to be a Formula One champion' and the kid is eight years old.
"Let him enjoy it. If he likes it, he'll be good at it. If he doesn't, he'll never succeed," said Montoya."
Formula One: The Complete Coverage