Schumacher, the official Mercedes reserve driver, was called up for the second day of Pirelli testing in Barcelona on Wednesday. The testing was to evaluate tyres that don’t rely on heat from blankets.
This test drive was Schumacher’s first opportunity to get behind the wheel of the W14 since his affiliation with the German car manufacturer. He successfully completed 152 laps during the day.
Renowned drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell previously commended Schumacher for his valuable contributions to the simulator during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. Now, Schumacher anticipates that his real-world experience with the Mercedes vehicle will allow him to further improve his simulator performance.
“This firsthand experience will definitely enrich my role,” Schumacher clarified.
“I now have a better understanding of the important factors and what needs improvement. My comprehension of the procedures and how the team functions at the trackside has also improved, which would be crucial if I ever need to compete in a race.”
Schumacher worked late into the previous Friday night when Mercedes had a challenging start to the practice in Spain, causing Hamilton to doubt his chances of reaching Q3.
However, Schumacher’s hard work paid off, with Hamilton’s car showing a marked improvement during Saturday’s practice. The team ultimately achieved a second and third-place finish in the race.
While Schumacher acknowledged the inherent discrepancies between the simulator and the actual vehicle, he noted an increasing correlation, lauding Mercedes’ efforts in this regard.
Mick Schumacher, Mercedes F1
Photo by: Pirelli
“Although there are obvious differences between the simulator and the actual driving experience,” he commented, “the technology is not yet advanced enough to enable a 100% comparison.
“But this is the closest experience I’ve had between a simulator and real life. The simulator has been great preparation, and the team has done an excellent job of correlating the two. This gave me a clear idea of what to expect when driving. It’s obvious why this team is an eight-time world champion.”
Pirelli concluded 617 laps over the two-day test in Barcelona, which included both Ferrari and Mercedes. George Russell, Carlos Sainz, and Charles Leclerc also participated in the two-day event, exclusively testing tyres without pre-heating blankets.
Pirelli’s motorsport head, Mario Isola, announced that further enhancements are due before the next test after the British Grand Prix, which will be the final one before the FIA and team vote on implementing a tyre blanket ban in 2024.
“In terms of construction, we are fine-tuning a few details. During this test, we started identifying a stable development base for the compounds, particularly for the 2024 range,” he added.
“All the testing was done without the use of tyre blankets. We discovered some intriguing aspects on the track; now we will perform a comprehensive analysis of all the data to ensure we’re as prepared as possible for the next test at Silverstone after the British Grand Prix.
“Subsequently, we will synthesize the findings from the work over the last few months and present a comprehensive report to the FIA, F1, and the teams, ensuring the best decisions are made using all available information.”
Additional reporting – Adam Cooper
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mercedes F1 Test Drive
What was the purpose of Schumacher’s Mercedes F1 test drive?
The test drive was primarily to evaluate tyres that are not heated by blankets. It also provided Schumacher with real-world experience driving the W14, which he believes will enhance his simulator performance.
Who else participated in the two-day test at Barcelona?
Apart from Schumacher, George Russell, Carlos Sainz, and Charles Leclerc also participated in the two-day testing event at Barcelona.
What was the outcome of Schumacher’s hard work on the simulator after the difficult opening day in Spain?
The efforts paid off, with Hamilton’s car showing significant improvement during Saturday’s practice. The team eventually secured a second and third-place finish in the race.
What is the tyre blanket ban proposed for 2024?
The tyre blanket ban proposed for 2024 involves not using tyre blankets to pre-heat the tyres. This proposal will be voted on by the FIA and team after the final test following the British Grand Prix.
What improvements are expected before the next test after the British Grand Prix?
Pirelli plans to fine-tune a few details regarding tyre construction and identify a stable development base for the compounds, particularly for the 2024 range, before the next test.