Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, will drive in Formula One for the first time with Haas next season, the team announced on Wednesday.

“Haas F1 Team has signed Germany’s Mick Schumacher as part of its all-new driver lineup for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship and beyond in a multi-year agreement,” Haas said in a statement.

“Racing for Haas F1 Team next year is an incredible feeling, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Schumacher, the 21-year-old who is currently topping the charts in F2 championship, with one race to go in Bahrain this weekend.

He get a taste of what is in store when he takes part in free practice ahead of the 2020 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 11 before taking part in testing a few days later.

A legend of the sport, Michael Schumacher was seriously injured in a skiing accident in December 2013 and has not been seen in public since. His wife Corinna, mother of Mick, issued a rare statement on the Formula One legend’s 50th birthday in January 2019, saying the family were doing “everything humanly possible” to help her husband.

British driver Lewis Hamilton this year won his seventh Formula One world title to equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time record.

Earlier, Russian driver Nikita Mazepin signed up to make his Formula One debut with the Haas team next year and it was reported that Schumacher could be joining him.

The 21-year-old son of Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin has signed a “multi-year” deal after a successful season so far in Formula Two, Haas said on Tuesday.

He will bring with him some much-needed financial backing for the team struggling from a dip in revenue due to poor results and the coronavirus pandemic.

Mazepin said: “Becoming a Formula 1 driver is a lifelong dream come true for me. I really appreciate the trust being put in me by (team owner) Gene Haas, Gunther Steiner, and the whole of the team.

“They’re giving a young driver an opportunity and I thank them for that.

“The team will be looking to me for feedback and inputs in order to refine its package for 2021 and beyond. I will take that responsibility on and can’t wait to get started.”

Team principal Steiner said: “Nikita has underlined his credentials in F2 this year, with two victories and a handful of podiums in a strong season.”

Since switching to Formula Two this year from the lower-ranked competitions, Mazepin won the so-called “feature races”, or longer races, at Silverstone and Mugello.

Steiner dismissed any suggestion that Mazepin was arriving solely as a ‘pay driver’ on the strength of his father’s chequebook.

“There are lots of good drivers who arrive in F1 with sponsors,” he said, giving Sergio Perez (backed by billionaire Carlos Slim) or Canadian Lance Stroll (whose father owns his Racing Point team) as examples.

“If they are good in F2 and bring a sponsor, why say no?”

The Haas team’s current drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean are being released at the end of the campaign in a cost-cutting measure.

With AFP inputs