Mick Schumacher “loved every minute” of his first taste of the Mercedes W14, following a day of tyre testing in Barcelona.
The Mercedes reserve driver was back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the first time this season in Spain on Wednesday as he took part in Pirelli tyre testing, with 2024 prototypes being run without the use of heated tyre blankets, with Formula 1 looking to rid the sport of them from next season onwards on sustainability grounds.
On track, Schumacher took in a whopping 152 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as he logged valuable data for his team and Pirelli, with the former Haas driver having been mostly working in the Mercedes simulator so far this season.
Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have praised the 24-year-old for the work he has done behind the scenes so far this year, with Schumacher having been in the sim until 2am over the weekend as the team worked on solutions for the Spanish Grand Prix on the way to a double podium finish.
But Schumacher had his first taste of current Mercedes machinery in the real world on Wednesday, just over a decade on from the last time his father Michael ended his career with the same team – and he was thrilled to be back out on track, adding he now knows why Mercedes have had so much success in the past 10 years.
“It was great! I learned a lot and it was a lot of fun,” Schumacher said after his day of running.
“It was a very productive day; we got through everything we wanted to and ran every test tyre on the plan.
“It was also good to have that first experience of the tyres without any blankets. Obviously having not driven in a while, I felt it physically, but it was good to be back in the driving seat.”
“This experience will definitely benefit me in my role. I have a better understanding of what to look out for and what to work on.
“I also have a better understanding of all the procedures and how the team works trackside. That would be a key factor in case I ever have to jump in and race.
“There is obviously a difference between the simulator and driving in the real world. There will always be a difference as the technology is not at a point where you can compare it 100%.
“However, it is the closest experience I’ve had between a simulator and real life. The simulator has prepared me, and the team has made a great effort of correlating it. That helped me to know what to expect when driving it. It’s clear why this team is an eight-time World Champion.
“I’m very excited for the rest of the year. I’ve had a great time today and hopefully I’ll be back in a car at some point. I loved every bit of it! I want to say a big thank you to everybody for this opportunity.”
Elsewhere on track, Carlos Sainz was also on track for Ferrari conducting tyre testing on Wednesday, with Charles Leclerc and George Russell having been on driving duty for their respective teams at the same circuit on Tuesday.