Mick Schumacher feels he can provide Mercedes with a greater correlation of its simulator following a debut day in the W14 he has described as “epic”.
In testing Pirelli’s prototype tyres for next season that are due to be used across grand prix weekends without tyre-warming blankets, Schumacher completed 152 laps of Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
Whilst Schumacher naturally performed a crucial role for Pirelli, of greater importance for Mercedes was that its reserve driver now has a greater understanding and feel for a car he had only previously experienced in the simulator.
After seven months out of F1 after being released by Haas at the end of last season, Schumacher naturally conceded that he “felt it physically” being back in a car, but that it was “good to be back in the driving seat”.
“I learned a lot and it was a lot of fun,” said Schumacher. “It was a very productive day, we got through everything we wanted to and ran every test tyre on the plan.
“It was also good to have that first experience of the tyres without any blankets.”
Schumacher further completed “all the test procedures” that were required of him by Mercedes, providing him and the team with a greater level of understanding of the upgrade package that was placed on the car ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
The importance of Schumacher’s role was underlined across the recent Spanish Grand Prix weekend when, after a difficult day for Lewis Hamilton and team-mate George Russell in Friday practice, he worked with the team into the early hours of Saturday in order to make set-up crucial changes.
The end result saw Hamilton and Russell score the team’s first double podium of the year in finishing second and third respectively behind race-winner Max Verstappen in his Red Bull.
Schumacher was praised by both drivers after the race for his contribution over the weekend, with his appreciation of the car now heightened after an invaluable day’s work in Spain.
“This experience will definitely benefit me in my role,” said Schumacher. “I have a better understanding of what to look out for and what to work on.
“It’s great now being really embedded in the team having driven the car, knowing what it’s all about. I really feel like I can get back to the sim now and get that good correlation.
“I also have a better understanding of all the procedures and how the team works trackside. That will be a key factor in case I ever have to jump in and race.”
The only downside is that Schumacher had no real-world experience of the W14 prior to the updates being applied, so was unable to draw a “direct comparison”.
However, he added: “From all the communications I’ve heard from the drivers though, I could feel, and agreed with, a lot of their comments when driving. It was very straightforward.”
Although unknown when he will next be in the car, Schumacher said: “I’m very excited for the rest of the year, and hopefully I’ll be back at some point. I loved every bit of it. It was epic.”
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