Mick Schumacher drives for McLaren for the first time as the German gets a much anticipated break in his efforts to establish himself as a regular race driver on the Formula 1 grid.
Mick Schumacher completed his first day of testing with the McLaren Formula 1 team on Wednesday. The venue was the Portimao circuit in Portugal. However, the German was not at the wheel of the current MCL60, but in the MCL35M from 2021, in other words, a car suitable for this type of ‘private’ test run according to F1 regulations.
According to the regulations, it is allowed to conduct private test drives with a car that is at least two years old. Schumacher’s test was part of the agreement between Mercedes and McLaren to share test and reserve drivers.
In previous years, for example, McLaren had an agreement with Mercedes to use Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries if one of the two regular drivers needed to be substituted at a Grand Prix.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 1, 2023
The cooperation was extended at the end of 2023. As Schumacher is now Mercedes’ test and reserve driver, he could be called upon should Lando Norris or Oscar Piastri have to be replaced at a race weekend.
The Portimao test provided Schumacher with his first opportunity to work with McLaren, familiarising himself with the team and their procedures. While the McLaren race team prepared for the upcoming Silverstone race, a test team was active at Portimao, featuring young engineers gaining valuable experience alongside Schumacher.
Joining Mercedes as reserve keeps the dream going
Joining Mercedes as a reserve driver certainly offered Schumacher the chance to learn from some of the best in the sport. Working alongside Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time World Champion, provides an invaluable opportunity for growth and mentorship, keeping the dream alive of someday returning to the grid as a regular race driver.
The partnership between Mick Schumacher and Mercedes is particularly poignant, considering the history between the Schumacher family and the team. Michael Schumacher enjoyed tremendous success with Mercedes-powered sportscars, before getting his break in F1, winning seven World Championships in 1994 and 1995 with Benneton, and then from 2000 to 2004 while driving for Ferrari.
Schumacher senior then returned to F1 and joined Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team after a break. Now, his son will contribute to the team’s ongoing legacy.
This was Schumacher’s second Formula 1 test this year following his departure from Haas. He previously conducted a tyre test for Pirelli in a Mercedes at Barcelona in early June, where the focus was on data collection rather than pure performance.
Next, Schumacher will have another chance to get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, but for a completely different purpose. At the renowned Goodwood Festival of Speed from July 13 to 16, he will drive his father Michael’s Mercedes, specifically the W02 from 2011. Schumacher expressed excitement about the opportunity, considering it a special experience to pilot his father’s car and acknowledging the emotions it stirs within him.
As Schumacher continues to gain valuable track time and diverse experiences, he remains a driver to watch for fans of the Schumacher name, with potential opportunities to showcase his skills in the future in a bid to return to the grid.