HAAS have announced that Championship leader Mick Schumacher will join the illustrious list of names to have graduated into Formula 1 from the second tier, signing a multi-year deal to drive with the American team in 2021.

The Ferrari-powered outfit confirmed the departures of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen in October and it has been widely expected that Schumacher would take one of the two seats, due to the team’s relationship with the Scuderia.

The PREMA racer becomes the seventh driver to make the step up from F2 to F1 since the Championship’s rebranding in 2017. Schumacher currently leads the standings by 205 points, 14 ahead of fellow FDA driver Callum Ilott.

“The prospect of being on the Formula 1 grid next year makes me incredibly happy and I’m simply speechless,” said Schumacher. “I would like to thank Haas F1 Team, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari Driver Academy for placing their trust in me.

“I also want to acknowledge and extend my love to my parents – I know that I owe them everything. I have always believed that I would realize my dream of Formula 1.

"A huge thank you must also go to all the great motorsport fans out there who have supported me throughout my career. I will give it my all, as I always do, and I look forward to going on this journey together with Haas F1 and them.”

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Schumacher leads the F2 Championship with four wins and 10 podiums in 2020
Schumacher leads the F2 Championship with four wins and 10 podiums in 2020

The title contender will partner his Formula 2 rival Nikita Mazepin, with the Russian confirmed at HAAS on Tuesday.

Ferrari have long eyed up Schumacher for an F1 seat, but an inconsistent debut season put pressure on the German to deliver in 2020. He’s silenced the doubters this season, taking two wins and 10 podiums – including seven in the last 11 races.

The German has looked increasingly ready to make the step up, with his Feature Race victory at Sochi in Round 10 arguably the most complete performance of his F2 career to date.

Schumacher was inducted into the FDA in January 2019, on the back of winning the European Formula 3 Championship, aligning him with the same team that his father so famously won five World Championships with.

MORE: Schumacher “confident” and “relaxed” ahead of final two rounds

Schumacher will partner his F2 rival Nikita Mazepin at HAAS
Schumacher will partner his F2 rival, Nikita Mazepin, at HAAS

HAAS Team Principal Guenther Steiner added: “I’m very pleased that we’re able to confirm Mick Schumacher in our driver lineup for next season and I look forward to welcoming him into the team.”

“The Formula 2 Championship has long served as a proving ground for talent to showcase their credentials and this year’s field has undoubtedly been one of the most competitive in recent seasons. Mick has won races, collected podiums and excelled against some pretty exceptional talent in 2020.

“I firmly believe he’s earned the opportunity to graduate into Formula 1 based on his performances. We have an opportunity ahead of us, as a team, to evaluate and nurture a new driver given our familiarity with our race package heading into 2021.

"We are putting in place our building blocks for the continued long-term growth of the team and I look forward to Mick’s contributions both on and off the track in that process.”