Mick Schumacher will soon get his first opportunity to drive the Mercedes W14, team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed.
The son of the seven-time World Champion, Michael, joined the Silver Arrows in a reserve role ahead of the F1 2023 season after being axed from the Haas driver line-up and released by the Ferrari Driver Academy.
He has been watching on from the sidelines at the Mercedes garage ever since, but he is now reportedly set for some rare track action in Barcelona.
Following the conclusion of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend, Mercedes will be staying operational in Barcelona for a Pirelli tyre test taking place on the following Tuesday and Wednesday.
George Russell will be driving on the first day and then will hand over the following day to Schumacher, who is expected to rack up in the region of 500km of running should there be no mishaps along the way.
Wolff confirmed the news ahead of Formula 1 landing in Barcelona, saying: “After the Grand Prix weekend, Mick will also get his first real-world taste of the W14 on the second day of the Pirelli tyre test.
“He has done a great job with the team so far, working hard back in the simulator and giving valuable input trackside. We’re looking forward to him getting his first taste of on-track running this year, and sure it will help him in his role as reserve driver.”
Sadly for Schumacher, this is set to be a rare taste of current F1 machinery because his options for a full-time F1 return in 2024 look slim.
With former Mercedes motorsport strategy director James Vowles taking on the team boss role at Williams, it was reported that could potentially unlock a new door for Schumacher and get himself back on the grid.
However, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff did not have a positive update to share recently when discussing Schumacher’s F1 future.
“It’s a difficult situation because the cockpits are taken with us,” he told Sky Deutschland, “even though I wish Mick would get a seat, he would have deserved it.
“The situation in 2024 is so unfavourable.
“In 2025 a few doors will open again. We’ll have to wait and see how the pace develops at Williams, but it’s not easy.”
But, he added: “We have to be careful because if we support Mick too much, then there are those who want to make it particularly difficult and then come crawling out of their holes.”
A tough call could await Schumacher, then, before the F1 2023 season comes to a conclusion. Mercedes would more than likely love to keep him involved for another year – but Mick may decide his full-time future is away from F1 and move to another racing series instead.