Mick Schumacher will not only act as a Mercedes reserve driver in the 2023 season, but will also step in at McLaren if there is an emergency. The prominent newcomer has already had the first seat test in the MCL37.
For Mick Schumacher, the new year begins with a lot of work. The 23-year-old Swiss citizen is currently traveling in England, touring from F1 factory to F1 factory. Only at the beginning of the week did the freshly crowned Mercedes works driver complete his seat test in the new Silver Arrow in Brackley. On Wednesday (February 1st) we went on to Woking to the McLaren headquarters.
As the Mercedes customer team has now officially announced, Schumacher will also act as a reserve driver in the coming season should Lando Norris or Oscar Piastri drop out. It is not unusual for McLaren to share the third man with Mercedes. Last year, the racing team would have resorted to the driver pool of the engine partner if the worst came to the worst.
In the footsteps of Nyck de Vries
At that time, Nyck de Vries took on the double role. Mercedes also loaned the youngster to Williams in the pre-season. There the Dutchman made his Formula 1 debut in Monza when Alexander Albon dropped out due to appendicitis. It was the decisive effort that made De Vries a good choice for a regular cockpit this season.
Of course, Schumacher hopes to follow a similar path. It would only be logical for the new works driver to take over the role of De Vries completely and also step in for Williams in an emergency. After all, there are hardly any independent drivers on the market who have so much experience with the current generation of racing cars. We hear that negotiations have already been held on this. Nothing has been officially announced yet.
At McLaren, the 43-time Grand Prix participant also meets an old friend. New team boss Andrea Stella worked as a performance engineer for Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in the early 2000s. The reunion with the son in Woking was correspondingly cordial.
Schumi seat for McLaren
During the initial visit, a seat shell was adapted directly so that the substitute can jump into the cockpit immediately if his services are asked for. The settings for the pedals and the steering wheel were also checked directly. No major difficulties were to be expected. At 1.78 meters, newcomer Piastri is four centimeters longer than Schumacher.
With the commitment of the replacement driver, McLaren has eliminated a construction site. Nevertheless, after the surprising departure of Andreas Seidl, the team started the season with many question marks. The goal remains to get closer to the top teams. The fans are especially excited to see how well rookie Piastri will do.
According to the engineers, the new car is on schedule. Already on January 24, the engine was started for the first time in the MCL37 chassis. The premiere of the new car is scheduled for February 13. The team is currently on the Barcelona Grand Prix circuit, where Piastri and Norris can shake the rust from the winter break out of their bones in the two-year-old MCL35M.