Mick Schumacher said he felt ‘very comfortable’ behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car during Tuesday’s post-season test at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, with the German completing one hundred and twenty-five laps for the Haas F1 Team.
The 2020 FIA Formula 2 champion made his on-track debut for Haas in free practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last Friday, but Tuesday saw him given a whole day in the VF-20 ahead of his planned full 2021 race debut with the American team.
Schumacher was pleased to complete as many laps as he did as he focused on preparing himself for the move into Formula 1 racing next season, with the German already eager to get 2021 started.
“I feel pretty good, obviously I’m very happy I managed to do so many laps – it’s not always a given in testing,” reflected Schumacher. “We focused on a good amount of laps, and a valuable amount of laps, which was very positive.
“The key point from today was just to understand the tyres a little more – for that, the long runs were very good. I think we achieved that, and I now have a pretty good knowledge of what I need to do although the tyres might be a bit different next year.
“I feel very comfortable, I know the team’s happy, so that’s good. I really was so happy to be in the car and it was so much fun to drive. I’m really looking forward to next year.”
“He completely understood the program in terms of what we wanted to achieve” – Ayao Komatsu
Ayao Komatsu, the Director of Engineering at Haas, said it was important the team gave Schumacher the chance to understand the car and learn about the processes within Formula 1 to prepare the German for his debut next season.
There was never a need to push Schumacher to go for qualifying-style lap times, with the focus instead being on making the Formula 2 champion comfortable driving a Formula 1 car.
“So today was obviously the first full day of Mick being in the car,” said Komatsu. “We really focused on him understanding the car, and then adjusting the car balance to suit and to get the best out of Mick.
“We really didn’t focus on one lap performance or anything like that, we simply wanted to get him to understand various things like different fuel loads. We also focused on tyre management on high fuel runs. It was really good for Mick to experience long runs, both at high track temperature and towards the end of the day when track temperature was then at its coolest.
“We ran both C4 and C5 tyres on long runs. He was making lots of adjustments by himself and using the tools available to him. So, today was a very good day. He completed 125 laps – his fitness was absolutely no problem.”
Komatsu says Schumacher’s attitude towards the test day was ‘excellent’, with his procedures improving throughout the day to a ‘pretty good level’.
“He completely understood the program in terms of what we wanted to achieve today,” added Komatsu. “He also did 11 starts from the F2 pitlane, his procedures improved as the day continued – to the point he was at a pretty good level.
“All-in-all we’re very happy. His attitude was excellent, as was his understanding of the program, his understanding of the car and working with the engineers to improve his tyre management – it was excellent. We’re very happy.”