Mick Schumacher’s uncle has explained how Mercedes and McLaren will benefit from the German’s experience, talking-up his chances of a Grand Prix drive in 2023.
Having lost his full-time seat to Nico Hulkenberg after two years with Haas, Schumacher was snapped-up by his famous father’s old Mercedes team to work as their reserve and test driver.
The 23-year-old will also be available to the Mercedes-powered McLaren team should Lando Norris or Oscar Piastri be unable to compete at a Grand Prix.
Schumacher was unfortunate to lose his Haas seat, with Guenther Steiner deciding the American-backed team needed the experience of 181-time GP starter Hulkenberg – who is 12 years older – to help them rise through the midfield.
Ralf Schumacher, the outspoken younger brother of seven-time World Champion Michael, believes his nephew’s new role will suit all parties.
“For the teams, it’s great to have someone like Mick,” the six-time Grand Prix winner told Sky Sport.
“He knows his way around, he knows the tracks. Mick comes fresh out of the car, so to speak. It’s also a good opportunity for him.
“With four chances (to fill in at Mercedes and McLaren), there’s more chance for him to maybe drive.”
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While Schumacher was disappointed not to be on the grid for 2023, he plans on taking full advantage of his time at Mercedes. The former F2 champion will get to work closely with all-time great Lewis Hamilton and his all-conquering Brackley team, while observing a potential rival for future championships in George Russell.
He’s not the only driver hoping for a return to the grid in 2024, with Daniel Ricciardo also dropping into a reserve role with Red Bull after being axed by McLaren. Both drivers can take inspiration from Alex Albon, who made a comeback for 2022 at Williams after a year on the sidelines.
At Williams’ livery launch, Albon talked-up the benefits of spending 2021 away from the spotlight. The British-Thai racer believes he became a better driver after gaining “head space to try to analyse and self-reflect on why did it not work.”
“I’ll take it in a similar way that Alex did,” Schumacher told the press at Mercedes’ W14 launch.
“More than that it’s also an opportunity for me to have two team-mates instead of one to look at and see what they’re doing.
“I don’t have a direct comparison because I’m not driving but I know how I approach things and that way I can see what they’re doing and their approach.
“Hopefully I can add to my toolbox after seeing some more tools, which I can use when I come back (to the grid).”