Jack Doohan, Formula 2 driver and son of five-time 500cc World Champion motorcycle racer Mick Doohan, has surprised fans by explaining that it was the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion who helped get him racing on four wheels.
The 19-year-old Australian, who had his first F1 free practice session with Alpine at the 2022 Mexico City Grand Prix last weekend, shared the revelation with Sky Sports after his drive.
“I had a kart gifted to me by Michael Schumacher because he and my dad were actually quite close friends… They were neighbours in Monaco, so I think he came out early one time to our home. We had a kart track there, so he gifted me and my sister a go-kart.”
This generous gift proved crucial in converting Jack from biking to karting: at age 5, he crashed his bike, breaking his leg (much to father Mick’s concern). However, he could return to the track with the kart Schumacher gave him, which he found much more to his liking.
“I kind of stepped aside from the bike because one of my buddies was driving a kart, and I had the kart gifted to me by Michael… Once I was seven, I got back onto four wheels, which obviously I prefer, because I’m way too big and wide to be on two!”Jack Doohan
Clearly, the move to four wheels has paid off for Doohan. A member of the Alpine Academy, Doohan has widely been tipped as one of the next drivers in line to make the jump to F1, the highest tier of international motorsports – especially now that his fellow Aussie Oscar Piastri has cut ties with Alpine to drive for McLaren in F1 next year. Doohan has said “[I] obviously want to drive in Formula 1 full-time.”
The Doohan and Schumacher families are exceptionally close. Not only were Mick and Michael mates, but their sons are mates too. Hell, Mick Schumacher is reportedly named after Mick Doohan – which demonstrates just how much respect Schumi had for his fellow motorsports legend.
Jack Doohan is scheduled to get another free practice drive at the season finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the 18-20th of November. He’s currently running 4th in the 2022 Formula 2 World Championship, with one race to go in Abu Dhabi on that same weekend.