Let' just look at statistics and probability on his F3 seasons:
In 2017 he had an average finishing postion of 9.7 so that means he finished 9th or 10th (and closer to 10th) on average. His best result was one third place (on 30 races) and his second best a 6th place.
His Prema team mates were Maximilian Gunther, Callum Ilott & Guanyu Zhou.
These were how they finished in the standings (the title was won by Lando Norris for Carlin that year):
3. Maximilian Gunther (Ger) 383 points
4. Callum Ilott (GB) 344 pts
8. Guanyu Zhou (China) 148 pts
12. Mick Schumacher (Ger) 94 pts.
Doesn't exactly scream future F1 star does it? After all Lando Norris was a rookie that year too and he won the title in a weaker team with 441 pts.
In 2018 Guanyu Zhou stays as Mick's team mate. The other 3 drivers that join Prema are Ralf Aron and F3 rookes Marcus Armstrong & Robert Schwartzman.
The championship is again 30 races. After 14 races Mick is the lowest (5th) placed of all Prema drivers. Zhou & Armstrong have already won and Aron even won 3 races so far (but he's more experienced as the others).
Mick's average is better as the previous year: it's 8.0 now.
Then in race 15 at Spa, exactly halfway the 30 races, he wins his first race (actually afer pushing Guanyu Zhou, who was on pole, off track).
In the final 16 races of that year he finishes 8 times 1st, 3 times 2nd nd 1 time 3rd. So that's 12 podia out of 16 races for a driver who was 12th overall before and only managed 1 3rd the whole previous year.
His average finishing position in the final 16 races of 2018 was 2.42 however that included 1 race in which he was 12th, if we discount that race his average finish was 1.69 over 15 races.
So he went from finishing on average 9-10th (9.7) in 2017 to 8th on average in the first half of 2018 to a finishing average of 1st-2nd in the second half.
In that second half of 2018 Dan Ticktum, yes I know he has a big mouth and behaves like an idiot often, started openly saying 'The FIA should open up his engine and check it out because it's not normal that a driver who could never follow me starts to win everything and now nobody can follow him'.
As a driver I would never have said such things but I'm not a driver so I can say that I agree with him. The stats showed such an anomaly that imho this only could have happened with an unfair advantage that was given to him.
If you want to believe a miracle happened that year: fine, I can't prove otherwise and I'm fine with you believing that. But I don't believe in fairytales.
I don't believe that such a spectacular turn around in results, which is unique in the history of single seater feeder series (except a case in F3000 where a driver who didn't qualify won the next 4 races), is possible.
And this anomaly 'accidently' happened to someone with the name Schumacher.... which makes it even more weird.
F3 wasn't even a spec series yet in those days which made it a lot easier to do something. I'm sure Stroll had special parts on his car considering he had F1 engineers taking care of his car. That probably even was legal since it was not a spec series.
Edited by William Hunt, 11 June 2022 - 22:37.