Mick Schumacher has said his reserve role at Mercedes has “opened my eyes” to how a successful team operates but did admit he missed driving.
The German departed Haas after two seasons and finding himself without a seat, he took up the offer of a reserve role with Mercedes, one of his father Michael Schumacher’s former teams.
Toto Wolff has been known to be a big fan of the young driver but Schumacher has found his route back into Formula 1 to be difficult.
Mick Schumacher enjoying Mercedes reserve role
With reports of a WEC move and drive with Alpine, it appears Schumacher is resigned to another year off the F1 grid with only Logan Sargeant’s Williams seat left to be decided.
But he has not spent a year entirely out of the sport with Schumacher often pictured alongside Wolff during a race weekend and taking part in sim work and tyre tests for the Silver Arrows.
Schumacher believes this process has given him a “tremendous insight” and “opened my eyes” to how a successful team operates.
“Being a reserve driver gives you tremendous insight, especially at Mercedes,” he told Top Gear. “I miss driving, I’m not going to lie. But the main thing I’ve learned since moving from Haas to Mercedes is how the team operates, the tools they have, how they use them and the communication.
“They’re big learning points. It has opened my eyes in a lot of ways and has made it clear why Mercedes is as successful as it is. The worst part is sitting in the garage and seeing everybody drive out and do what you love to do.”
While he is out of the F1 car, Schumacher still likes to get behind the wheel and scratch his road car itch. Asked where that passion came from, there was an obvious source.
“Honestly, I don’t really know where I got into them,” he said. “Driving them around the property as a child was a big factor.
“The first time I had a steering wheel in my hand from a road car was maybe four or five years old, on my dad’s lap. I got to drive very nice cars, very soon and very early. I guess it just grew naturally. Especially when I turned 18 – then it really turned into an obsession.
“I went looking for an Evo II to buy but decided against it… for now. It’s a beautiful car and has huge sentimental value to me. The main reason being that my dad had one as a company car when he was a Mercedes junior.
“He spent a lot of time doing lots of laps on the Nordschleife with Heinz-Harald Frentzen. I remember within a month they had to change the brake pads and things with the engine. So it’s an emotionally important car to me.”