Mick Schumacher to make Mercedes debut in Barcelona

Mick Schumacher to make Mercedes debut in Barcelona

The Mercedes Formula 1 team has announced that Mick Schumacher will drive their Formula 1 car for the first time next week.

Mercedes backup driver Mick Schumacher will make his W14 debut on Wednesday after this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix as part of a Pirelli tyre test.

The 24-year-old is reportedly involved in the Silver Arrows’ plans for their upcoming tyre test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, according to the German publication Bild. Schumacher and George Russell are expected to split the responsibilities.

For his first time behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car since being fired by Haas at the end of the 2022 season, Schumacher will test on Wednesday, after taking over from Russell who is scheduled to run on Tuesday.

Schumacher has only raced the W14 in the simulator since joining Mercedes as their official reserve driver; his performance next week could indicate whether he has the speed to return to the grid in 2024.

“After the grand prix weekend, Mick will also get his first real-world taste of the W14 on the second day of the Pirelli tyre test,” team principal Toto Wolff confirmed.

“He has done a great job with the team so far, working hard back in the simulator and giving valuable input trackside… We’re looking forward to him getting his first taste of on-track running this year, and sure it will help him in his role as reserve driver.”

Ferrari will join Mercedes in the Pirelli tire test. According to Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola, they will run for two days each to develop the compounds and designs for next year.

Pirelli has accelerated the debut of several of its 2024 innovations, and will test them throughout the forthcoming grand prix weekend, which is also in Barcelona. The sport will race on the new tires for the first time at Silverstone.

“Apart from the use of some new material, which has already been homologated following an extensive test programme, the latest specification is identical to the previous version,” said Isola.

“Initially this was scheduled for 2024, but its introduction has now been brought forward to make the structure more resistant to fatigue, as the loads generated by the current cars have already reached the targets set for the end of the season after only a few races.

“This new construction has no impact though on the technical parameters or performance of the tyres.”

The 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marked Schumacher’s final outing for Haas and his final time behind the wheel of an F1 car. He finished 16th in that race.

His father, Michael Schumacher, was a Mercedes F1 driver from 2010 to 2012 in addition to participating in their junior driver program and World Sports-Prototype Championship squad in the 1990s.

During his second season in Formula 1, Schumacher made very expensive mistakes. His catastrophic crashes in Saudi Arabia and Monaco cost the midfield team millions of dollars. He is undoubtedly a talented driver, as evidenced by the fact that he won the 2020 Formula 2 World Championship.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff fought hard to sign Schumacher to replace Nyck de Vries, indicating that the squad obviously sees potential in the driver.

Last season, Schumacher was rumored to be joining AlphaTauri and Williams, but in the end, he was unable to secure a spot on the grid.

Though working closely with Wolff, Russell, and seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, spending a season at Mercedes is undoubtedly not a bad consequence given his Haas challenges.

Mercedes will probably work with the German to try and get him a spot on the grid for the upcoming season, though that could be difficult.

There aren’t many spaces available for Schumacher next year because the majority of F1 drivers’ contracts don’t expire until the end of the 2024 season.

Currently, the only teams with seats available for 2024 are Williams, Alfa Romeo, Haas, and AlphaTauri, unless they extend new contracts to their current drivers.

Alfa Romeo may be an option for him now that he was ruled out from taking an AlphaTauri seat last season and forced out of Haas, especially because they will be known exclusively as Sauber next year in anticipation of their contract with Audi.

Williams is another solid choice given that the squad is a Mercedes client team and that team principal James Vowles previously spent a significant amount of time working for the Silver Arrows alongside Wolff.

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