Mick Schumacher says his appearance for Mercedes during a Pirelli tire test in Spain has helped ensure he is better prepared if he ever needs to race for the team.
The former Haas driver is the Mercedes reserve this season, and has been carrying out simulator duties alongside a trackside presence with the team. Schumacher got his first taste of the 2023 Mercedes at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Wednesday and says he can use the test to both provide better feedback as well as know how the team operates in case he needs to replace either Lewis Hamilton or George Russell at any stage.
“This experience will definitely benefit me in my role,” Schumacher said. “I have a better understanding of what to look out for and what to work on. I also have a better understanding of all the procedures and how the team works trackside. That would be a key factor in case I ever have to jump in and race.
“There is obviously a difference between the simulator and driving in the real world. There will always be a difference as the technology is not at a point where you can compare it 100%. However, it is the closest experience I’ve had between a simulator and real life. The simulator has prepared me, and the team has made a great effort of correlating it. That helped me to know what to expect when driving it. It’s clear why this team is an eight-time world champion.”
Schumacher also found it a beneficial day in terms of understanding Pirelli’s plans for tires in 2024, as well as getting a feel for the upgraded Mercedes across 152 laps in the car.
“It was great! I learned a lot and it was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was a very productive day; we got through everything we wanted to and ran every test tire on the plan. It was also good to have that first experience of the tires without any blankets. Obviously having not driven in a while, I felt it physically, but it was good to be back in the driving seat.
“It was great to drive the new update package. Of course I hadn’t driven the launch package so I couldn’t make that direct comparison. From all the communications I’ve heard from the drivers, though, I could feel and agree with a lot of their comments when driving. It was very straightforward.”