FIA president Todt following Mick Schumacher's rise 'very closely'

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FIA president Jean Todt admits he is tracking the progress of Mick Schumacher "very closely" on his path to Formula 1.

Last week, the young German impressed as he continued preparing for F2 at the first pre-season test in Jerez, finishing two-tenths clear of the rest of the field.

Given the close bond between the Todt and Schumacher family, with Jean having led Ferrari when Michael won his five straight titles, it's unsurprising the Frenchman is delighted by his rise.

"I'm very happy, it's Michael's son Mick, I've known him since he was a baby," he said.

At the same time though, the current FIA head is another calling for the 19-year-old to be given time and space.

"I love him, he's a great character and we must leave him in peace," Todt continued. "He's demonstrating to be a very talented driver.

"On top of that, he's a very nice boy, very humble, very well-educated. I will follow him very closely as I've always been doing. He's a simple, honest, loyal, good boy. He's not yet spoiled [by the world of F1]."

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This year also sees another generation of F2 drivers step up to F1 with the top three drivers from 2018, Alex Albon, Lando Norris and champion George Russell all on the grid.

Asked how he expects them to fare, Todt replied: "It depends on the car they will drive.

"It's not a question of being a young driver, it's a question of having a good car to drive or not. If they have a good car they will be competitive.

"If they don't they will be behind. It's something you should understand, the driver without a car he will do nothing.

"If you put Hamilton in the worst car of the field, he will not be on pole and he will not be champion. You have people who have decided to step out of F1, like [Fernando] Alonso, because he is not able to have a winning car."