Mercedes’ reserve Mick Schumacher has opened up on the “shock” he felt after watching the team’s engineers hard at work during a Grand Prix weekend.
Schumacher lost his race seat with Haas as of the end of the 2022 campaign, with the German driver scooped up by Mercedes in order to serve as their official reserve driver for the season if Lewis Hamilton or George Russell are ever unable to take part in a Grand Prix weekend.
Schumacher, son of seven-time World Champion Michael, is thus spending his year learning through observation from the Mercedes garage, as well as carrying out simulator duties, and said the season opener in Bahrain had been eye-opening for him.
Having spent his first two years in F1 as a race driver, the German driver explained that he simply had no idea how much chatter went on in the garage and across to the pitwall as engineers discussed what is going on on-track.
“As a driver, you usually do not get to hear what is going on between all the engineers while you are out on the track,” Schumacher wrote in his diary for the Mercedes website.
“So listening in during the sessions has been extremely interesting. I was quite shocked at the season opener in Bahrain, I did not expect the sheer amount of exchange that happens.”
Schumacher said it had been illuminating for him to be able to see how the engineers take on the information being imparted by the drivers in order to help extract more performance, and said it was also “special” to be working with many people who had worked with Mercedes when his father Michael had raced for them between 2010-2012.
“You don’t know what you’re missing until you are actually part of it,” he said.
“What I really appreciate in working with those engineers is that they are genuinely listening to you and your opinion matters, and what is special from an emotional side is that many people who are working for the team now were working here when my dad was driving.
“It’s also been fascinating working with Lewis and George. It’s an interesting period for me as I get to look over and work with two fantastic drivers, which you don’t always get to do. I’ve learned a lot about what’s important in terms of approaching race weekends; I feel like I’ve already gained so much knowledge to add to my skill set. I didn’t think I would have learned and gained so much so early into my role.”