2023 is looking set to be a busy year for Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher, with the German having also been announced as McLaren’s reserve for the forthcoming season.
Schumacher’s role at the Woking-based team is as a result of McLaren’s “arrangement” with their engine supplier, Mercedes.
It means that should Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Lando Norris or Oscar Piastri be unable to compete in any session this year, then the German will be called up to replace them.
Having Schumacher at their disposal is hugely beneficial to McLaren, given that unlike any other reserve driver, the German has experience of racing at the pinnacle of motorsport since the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced.
The British side announced the news on social media, by saying: “McLaren will be able to call on @SchumacherMick as a reserve driver during the 2023 F1 season as part of our arrangement with Mercedes. Welcome to the family, Mick.”
The image posted by the team clearly shows that Schumacher has visited the outfit’s Woking base, with the ex-Haas driver having completely his seat fit ahead of the forthcoming campaign.
Having Schumacher at their disposal should they need him is likely to feel special for the side’s new team principal Andrea Stella, given that he worked with Schumacher’s father, Michael, as his performance engineer at Ferrari from 2002-2006.
Gaining experience at Mercedes and McLaren will go massively in the 23-year-old’s favour and could help him claim a spot on the grid in 2024, something he’s targeting.
Nyck de Vries was also a standby reserve driver for McLaren last season whilst occupying the role of Mercedes reserve, and almost replaced Norris at the Brazilian Grand Prix after the British driver’s participation in the weekend was questioned following a bout of food poisoning.
De Vries was seen completing a seat fitting with McLaren ahead of FP1 at Interlagos; however, Norris was able to participate.
It remains to be seen if Schumacher will also be used by Williams and Aston Martin, with both sides having used De Vries last season.
This could be unlikely given that Schumacher won’t fit the criteria for letting a young driver take part in FP1, with the German having two years of F1 under his belt.