Although Mick Schumacher is Mercedes’ official test and reserve driver for the 2023 season, it is not part of their pre-season plans. At least not on the track.
Dropped by Haas after two years on the grid, Guenther Steiner says Haas will push Schumacher harder than the team was able to push, Schumacher given an F1 lifeline from Mercedes.
Motorsport boss Toto Wolff didn’t take long to nab the German, the second Schumacher to join the Mercedes F1 team after his father Michael raced for the team from 2010 to 2012.
Schumacher, however, will have to wait his turn to drive the soon-to-be-unveiled W14, as Mercedes currently have no plans to put him in the car during pre-season testing.
With that limited to just three days this year, Mercedes want Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to have as much track time as possible.
“No test drives with the Mercedes are currently planned,” reports Auto Motor und Sport.
“The three days of testing before the start of the season in Bahrain are, understandably, reserved for the two drivers to get to grips with their new car.”
This, however, is by no means an affront to Schumacher as limited testing in recent years has meant that teams rarely run a reserve driver.
Last season Alfa Romeo gave time to Robert Kubica while Haas put Pietro Fittipaldi behind the wheel when they decided to part ways with Nikita Mazepin.
Confirming Schumacher’s signing in late December, Wolff said he believed the 23-year-old would be “ready” to get in the car at short notice if I needed to.
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“We know that with two years of Formula 1 racing experience under his belt,” he said, “we’ll be ready to get in the car at short notice to replace Lewis or George, should the need arise.”
But apart from that, the German will be spending time in the simulator helping to develop the W14 and also participating in the Grand Prix weekends.
Wolff told Sport Bild: “He’s already been in Formula 1 for two years, he knows the tires and the difficulties of the current generation cars. He will be of great help in the simulator and in judging the car.
“It will help us to have him on track in the debriefing room, for example. He is an incredible young driver. That’s why we definitely have an advantage with Mick in our team.
It remains to be seen whether Mercedes will choose to enter the driver in the W14 during a Friday practice session.
No young FP1 riders race for Mick but are still eligible to take part
Last season Formula 1 introduced a new regulation which required each team to race a rookie during a Friday practice session – two sessions to be exact.
This meant last season’s Mercedes test and reserve driver Nyck de Vries did laps for Mercedes, Aston Martin, McLaren and Williams, the latter with a debut in the Italian GP and a race seat in 2023 with AlphaTauri.
Schumacher, however, will not be allowed to retake any of those FP1 runs.
The rules state that a rookie driver is defined as someone who “may not have competed in more than two F1 World Championship races during his career”.
Schumacher therefore cannot do one of the rookie free practice sessions of Mercedes or any of the other Mercedes powered teams, but can still take part in an FP1 session if they wish, as Robert Kubica did for Alfa Romeo last year. last.