Dec.13 (GMM) Mick Schumacher’s ongoing reserve driver duties for 2024 got off to a premature start this week.
After driving the 2023 Mercedes last week at Magny-Cours for a wet-tyre Pirelli test, Schumacher then replaced George Russell for pre-Christmas visits to the staff at the team’s Brackley and Brixworth factories this week.
Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff were there, but Russell called in sick.
“The Briton (Russell) has been sick for weeks and had to drag himself through the final races of the season,” correspondent Frederik Hackbarth told Germany’s Auto Bild.
“That’s why he’s taking a break from all obligations for now.”
Schumacher, 24, spent the entire 2023 season as Mercedes’ full-time reserve driver, but he will divide his time between that role and a return to racing next year with Alpine in the world endurance championship and Le Mans.
“I’m obviously excited to be racing again with Alpine,” he said. “I’m a racer, I’ve always been a racer and I’ll be racing again next year because that’s what I love doing.
“Not racing this year was hard and I’m really happy to be back, fighting. Believe me, I’m still working hard and hopefully I’m taking the step to get back into F1.”
As for the visit to Brackley and Brixworth, he insists it wasn’t a chore.
“I can continue to build relationships with the team here,” Schumacher said. “It’s nice to spend so much time with everyone and get to know them, including people who were here when my father was.
“It is a very special team and a very special connection that we have.”