Mick Schumacher has refused to engage in a war of words with F3 title rival Dan Ticktum.
The son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher has propelled himself to the top of the F3 standings after five wins at the last six races. The sudden spell of success followed an underwhelming first half of the season in which he failed to score a victory until the 15th race of the year in July. At that point he was eighth in the championship and 52 points off Ticktum, who was one point off the lead held by Schumacher’s Prema teammate Marcus Armstrong.
But that first victory, which came at Spa-Francorchamps, proved to be a turning point in Schumacher’s championship and he now leads Ticktum, who has not won a race since August, by 49 points with three races remaining.
In a post on Instagram that has now been deleted, Ticktum, who is a Red Bull junior driver, wrote that Schumacher’s sudden burst of pace had been “interesting” and that others in the paddock “will agree”.
“I don’t like pointing fingers at anyone but to be honest, this weekend the pace in the car was not there,” Ticktum wrote on Instagram. “Set-up mainly, as in the last race when we got the car better, we were pretty quick climbing from seventh to fourth.
“However compared to the top two no one on this grid had a chance. Even their other team-mates who are good drivers were nowhere compared to them. Interesting is how I would describe their pace and I am confident many people in the F3 paddock will agree.
“I did the best possible as I always endeavour to do! Thank you to the team as always for their hard work. It’s not over until it’s over and I’ll make sure I arrive at the last round in the best shape I can.”
Amid a backlash from followers, Ticktum clarified his initial post: “I have a huge respect for Mick who had dealt with a lot in the past few years. I am simply suggesting that it seems to have come from nowhere. I never said it was illegal.
“I appreciate I have lessons to learn still! I’m not denying that. You don’t know the real story because you are not at the track looking at everyone’s data. Unfortunately however I am fighting a losing battle as my last name is not Schumacher.”
Schumacher was asked to comment on Ticktum’s Instagram post by the Austrian publication Speedweek, but said he was not willing to enter into a war of words with his title rival.
“I do not listen to something like that,” Schumacher said. “The car is terrific to drive. We’ve evolved as a team, while others may have stopped at one point. I wish him good luck that he stays in the title fight. But I focus on myself, that’s my key.
“Everyone evolves during the year. We never stop working and learning. After my win at Spa it was not easy, but we managed to be consistent, especially in qualifying, with good lap times.”
Schumacher has been linked to F1 in recent weeks, with Ferrari saying the door is always open to him and Sauber boss Frederic Vasseur hinting that he could take part in some Friday practice sessions alongside a Formula 2 campaign next year.
“It’s quite difficult to do the step [from F3 to F1] and it will make sense probably for him to do Formula 2 or something like this,” Vasseur said. “But he could have a link with a Formula One team, he could do some FP1 [sessions]… There are many ways to prepare for F1.”
The F3 title will be decided in October at the final three races at Hockenheim, with both Ticktum and Schumacher in need of overall victory to contribute to the points they need to secure an F1 superlicence.