Mick Schumacher, Mercedes, Pirelli tyre test, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Schumacher’s set-up input gives Mercedes a “super advantage” – Wolff

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher has been praised for his role in the team’s recent upswing in form.

The 24-year-old, who lost his race seat with Haas at the end of last season, was name-checked by the team’s racers following their double podium finish in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Schumacher’s role at the team involves working in the simulator on Fridays during race weekends to hone the set-up of the W14s raced by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

While all teams have drivers performing similar roles, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff says being able to call on someone with experience of racing the current generation of cars is especially useful.

“First of all, it’s great to have a mature, successful and experienced F1 driver supporting us in the sim and with his feedback,” said Wolff. “That is a tremendous advantage on some of the European grands prix having him in the sim overnight, and providing data for the Saturday is a super advantage for us.”

The team also has the reassurance that if either driver was unable to race “then we know we have a super guy that would drive the car well” said Wolff. The team had to deal with that very situation when Hamilton caught Covid-19 in 2020 and Russell was called up from Williams to substitute for him alongside Valtteri Bottas.

Schumacher finally had the chance to drive the real W14 soon after the Spanish Grand Prix. The team remained at the Circuit de Catalunya in the week after the race for a Pirelli tyre test. Russell and Schumacher tested the latest generation of tyres under development by Pirelli.

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Given the focus of that test was to provide data for Pirelli, there was limited benefits for Mercedes beyond developing their understanding of the prototype versions of the tyres that may – subject to approval from F1’s 10 teams – be introduced in the future.

Mick Schumacher, Mercedes, Pirelli tyre test, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023
Schumacher had his first Mercedes test run in Spain
“He was I think very, very aware that the job of a driver in those circumstances is just to be a decent metronome for the tyre guys to make their conclusions about the tyres,” Mercedes’ technical director James Allison said of the test.

While Schumacher was criticised by his former Haas team principal Guenther Steiner for a series of costly crashes last year, Allison praised his professional approach to his testing duties. “Given that if we shunt the thing, that you’re actually paying for all the repairs out of the cost cap, it’s definitely [essential] not to shunt the thing!

“So he drove nicely, repeatedly, reliably, and gave us the platform for the tyre engineers to make their conclusions.”

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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33 comments on “Schumacher’s set-up input gives Mercedes a “super advantage” – Wolff”

  1. So Mick would know better how to set up the car than our 7 time world champion? That sounds a bit odd..

    1. I couldn’t find a sentence in the article which may lead you to such a conclusion.

    2. Where did this comparison come from? You know it’s a team sport, right? Driving the simulator provides potentially more opportunities for fine-tuning the car setup during the race weekend and having a driver with experience with current era cars to give that feedback will certainly help the race drivers, including your seven time world champion, to have more data in order to adjust the car optimally for the qualifying and race itself.

      Race drivers have very limited time to test everything they might need or want during free practice. It can sometimes be the smallest detail that can be identified by simulator and I believe this is why Toto is happy with Mick doing the job at the moment.

      1. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
        23rd June 2023, 9:05

        He is being deliberately provocative but probably he is naturally not too smart.

    3. So Mick would know better how to set up the car than our 7 time world champion? That sounds a bit odd.

      From other articles it is apparent that Mick is driving the simulator at a time of day when the two drivers (George & Lewis) are driving the zzzzzzzzzzzzz-mobile. Different shift pattern.

    4. Mick can swap setting in the sim in mere seconds, while adjusting them on the actual car can take upto an hour.
      If you want to test 30 different setup options, and you’ve got a limited time window, you can gain a lot if the sim-test is producing usable data. and some things are even worse, because you can’t test for instance overtaking possibilities on track if there is no-one cooperating, or changing weather conditions

    5. Classic Toto PR talk. I bet he is invested in Mick and wants to drive up his value.

  2. While Schumacher was criticised by his former Haas team principal Guenther Steiner for a series of costly crashes last year

    Unfortunately, I guess George has had some more tips from Mick before Canada.

  3. First of all, it’s great to have a mature, successful and experienced F1 driver supporting us in the sim and with his feedback

    Who is Toto talking about here. Surely it isn’t Mick. A guy who only drove an F1 for two years, never out-scored a teammate and immature enough to crash so many times that Haas didn’t want him.

    I understand that he may have potential to grow but today he isn’t any of those things Toto said about him.

    1. Toto is his manager. The team are paying him, his last name is famous. These are compelling reasons.

      1. It probably should be noted that Toto is a rather successful team boss, manager, and entrepreneur.

        Unlike -errr- others busying themselves burying the drivers they themselves signed while their team languishes, not particularly competitively, in the lower third of the results pages year after year.

      2. Where do you get that information from? I read that his manager is Sabine Kehm.

    2. It’s nice that Mick has found his level.
      Luca Badoer 2.0
      He can be the world’s greatest tester, just probably don’t drop him into a top level drive.

      1. He’s way better than badoer; he wasn’t competitive at all, schumacher had the potential to beat magnussen if given another season.

        1. @esploratore1 both you and @eurobrun seem to have forgotten that Badoer was a solid driver in the 90s. He should never have gotten the opportunity in 2009, when he had been out of competitive racing for 10 years, and was in his late 30s.

  4. But nobody would have heard from him if his name was Uwe Janßen.

    1. Yes, I understand given history people desperately want this to succeed, but he is more his uncle than his father when it comes to racing.

  5. Wolff is trying so hard to hype Mick even more to land him a deal. I wonder if he actually promised in his contract a ride somewhere…

    I’ve never seen so much comments regarding a driver that was so rightfully dropped.

    1. @fer-no65 Maybe both things are true though. The fact both drivers have also praised Schumacher’s work and that the Mercedes has been running well in recent races suggests good sim prep.

      1. @david-br I don’t buy it. What’s that super advantage? having a driver doing sim work during european races? that happens in every team. Having someone ready to step in case the regular drivers can’t make it? that’s also the case elsewhere.

        But every week there’s an article about Mick and his “fantastic work”, which Allison points out is driving “drove nicely, repeatedly, reliably”. Just like any other tester, basically!

        1. @fer-no65 It’s all about keeping the name on the board. Like Ocon did with Mercedes days. Like Ricciardo is doing now. Everyone who has lost a seat and want to come back. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. If there is no sudden changes to the lineups I can only see Mick go to Williams to replace Seargent.

          1. Sauber have a thoroughly underwhelming driver lineup, and the option to replace them for 2024.

        2. @fer-no65 Well, I still think it can be driver over-hype for business reasons, sure, but also be based on some reality of good work from Schumacher in the simulator. I mean are all testers really the same? No actual idea but doesn’t seem likely.

        3. @fer-no65 seems like you’re the one grasping at straws to prove that Toto, Lewis and George are liars.

    2. “Rightfully” is debatable, vergne also didn’t deserve to be passed over for kvyat, and you see to what lengths kvyat went, arguably kvyat was promoted to red bull because he was less experienced and they thought he could improve a lot, even if vergne outperformed him. Here on other hand, schumacher likely would’ve become better than magnussen with another season but they didn’t give him time. 2 seasons before being dropped and 1 serious one (decent car, decent team mate) are too little.

  6. Broccoliface
    23rd June 2023, 11:57

    Toto’s really trying to offload him eh?

    1. Historically, you’ll find Toto very supportive of and usually complimentary about his teams’ drivers.

      Also, they have a tendency to find unlikely F1 drives, so it’s not just warm words with him.

      1. This is true, I’m no fan of wolff but indeed he managed to find drives for drivers like ocon for example, and dropped him from the merc program to let him join alpine.

  7. I wonder how many times Mick crashed in the simulator. They must be resetting the simulator like crazy :)

  8. Hey buy my driver. He is fantastic, absolutely brilliant, megaclass driver, a surname to remember!

    With this much hype Toto can sell a vacuum cleaner to a dolphin

  9. It is impressive to be commenting on the same page with so many experienced F1 team managers! Wow! And Gunther Steiner might possibly be the greatest ever to hold the position? His deep insight into hiring great drivers like Keven and especially Nico while showing Mick the door can only be put down to sheer fortune telling brilliance! Well done! Who’s next? Jenson?

  10. So many fans always seem to think they know far better than those who are actually in the sport with far more knowledge, understanding and data available than any of us fans will ever have.

    If Mick gets another shot at a race seat with a better team than Haas and does as well as he did in the lower formulas i do wonder how fans will manage to spin it as been some fluke conspiracy unfair advantage type situation?

    It’s astonishing how those with the least amount of data, understanding and knowledge available to them seem to think they know everything when in fact they know absolutely nothing.

    Remember when many here wrote off Kevin Magnussen after 2014? Pretty sure i recall that ‘Not F1 worthy’ guy doing quite well in rubbish equipment since then or did i just imagine that pole?

    Stick to F1 manager you bunch of marks!

  11. playstation361
    25th June 2023, 0:48

    It’s nice to see Lewis Hamilton still extremely energetic. Hope this year is the safest for F1.

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