The official Mercedes reserve was drafted in for the second day of testing for Pirelli at Barcelona on Wednesday, as work continues evaluating tyres that are not heated by blankets. 

The run was the first opportunity that Schumacher has had to drive the W14 since he joined the German manufacturer, and he duly completed 152 laps over the course of the day. 

Having already earned big praise from Lewis Hamilton and George Russell for his simulator input over last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix weekend, Schumacher thinks that he can step things up even more now he understands how the Mercedes car is in real life. 

"This experience will definitely benefit me in my role,” explained Schumacher.

“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.” 

Schumacher worked late into the night last Friday after Mercedes endured a difficult opening day of practice in Spain that left Hamilton worried he might not even make Q3. The youngster's efforts paid off though as Hamilton’s car was transformed for Saturday practice, and the squad ended up delivering a two-three finish in the race. 

Although Schumacher said there remained differences between the simulator and real car, the correlation between them was getting closer as he especially praised the job Mercedes had done. 

Mick Schumacher, Mercedes F1

Photo by: Pirelli

"There is obviously a difference between the simulator and driving in the real world,” he said. “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." 

Blanket ban 

Pirelli completed a total of 617 laps over the two days of the Barcelona test that involved both Ferrari and Mercedes. George Russell, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc also ran over the two days, with all drivers testing exclusively on rubber that did not use tyre blankets to be pre-heated. 

Mario Isola, Pirelli’s head of motorsport, said that further refinements would be made ahead of the next planned test after the British Grand Prix, which will be the final run before an FIA and team vote on whether or not to pursue with a tyre blanket ban for 2024. 

“In terms of construction there are still just a few details to fine-tune, while during this test we began to identify a solid development base for the compounds; especially for the middle of what will be the 2024 range,” he said. 

“All the running took place without using tyre blankets. We verified a few interesting things on track; now we move onto a complete analysis of all the data so that we head into the next test, at Silverstone after the British Grand Prix, as well-prepared as we can be.  

“After that, we will draw some conclusions from all the work done over the last few months and present the FIA, F1, and the teams with the complete picture, so that the best decisions can be taken using all the information available.”

Additional reporting - Adam Cooper

2023-06-08T15:35:41Z dg43tfdfdgfd