Mick Schumacher admits there are times it is “difficult” for him to accept his new reserve driver role because he wants to be the one racing.
The German was dropped by Haas at the end of last season, the team opting to go with the experienced Nico Hulkenberg as they felt Schumacher’s two years on the grid weren’t enough to drive them forward.
Guenther Steiner’s late decision meant all the seats for 2023 had already been filled, Schumacher having to settle for a reserve driver.
But it is with one of the sport’s biggest teams, Mercedes, Toto Wolff quick to snap up the 23-year-old as he feels his 2022 experience with the new ground effect aerodynamic cars can only benefit Mercedes.
Schumacher admits he’s finding it “difficult” accepting the new job.
“Sometimes it is difficult because of course I want to drive myself,” he told Sky Deutschland.
“But,” he added, “I understand my role and my tasks and know that they are very important for the team. I have the experience from the cockpit from last year and know exactly how the car has to feel and can help the team with my feedback.”
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While his new role means Schumacher will also be the reserve driver for McLaren, he won’t be able to fill either of Mercedes or McLaren’s young driver spots in FP1.
The rules dictate that a young driver must have two or less grand prix to his name.
He can, however, still be drafted in to run in a Friday practice outside of the two young driver spots while also taking part in any testing the team does.
Asked if he will drive the new W14 at some point, he replied: “That is the hope. We still have to see if and when that will be the case.
“But that would of course be very good to get a comparison to the work on the simulator and then be better able to help the team.”
For now he’s settling into life at Mercedes, the driver having a role to play in Mercedes’ campaign as the team looks to bounce back after last year’s disappointing P3.
This season will be the first year in which Mercedes line up on the grid not holding at least one of the championship titles since they bagged the double back in 2014.
“It’s great to talk to the engineers and the drivers here and just learn from them,” he said. “For me it’s great because I can also develop myself.
“I’m already looking forward to the tests in Bahrain where things will finally really get going.
“Of course it’s always difficult to say before all the cars have been on the track together for the first time. From what I’ve seen and from the work that went into the car, I’m obviously hoping for a successful year for Mercedes.”
And success for Mercedes could mean a return to racing for Schumacher come 2024.
“Keep chatting with everyone,” he said. “I’m very happy at Mercedes but my goal is to drive in Formula 1 again. We have to see how the year plays out and what opportunities there are then.”