Mick Schumacher completes tire test for McLaren as Alpine decision looms

The 2024 Formula 1 British Grand Prix may be in the rear-view mirror, leaving just iconic images of Lewis Hamilton’s return to the top step of the podium behind, but the work continues at Silverstone.

And for one driver in particular, the effort Monday comes ahead of a critical decision regarding his — and the F1 driver grid’s — future.

Mick Schumacher was one of a trio of drivers participating in a Pirelli tire test at Silverstone on Tuesday, as the sport’s exclusive tire supplier works to refine the compounds for the 2025 F1 season. Schumacher climbed into the cockpit of McLaren’s MCL38, their challenger for the 2024 F1 season, as part of his reserve driver duties with Mercedes, McLaren’s engine supplier. Alexander Albon drove for Williams, with Haas — where Schumacher once drove on a full-time basis — calling on Pietro Fittipaldi.

This was not Schumacher’s first time testing for McLaren. Last July the former Haas driver climbed into the MCL35M for a testing session with the Woking-based team at Portimão Circuit in Portugal. Daniel Ricciardo drove the MCL35M to victory for McLaren at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

According to Pirelli’s media report, the conditions at Silverstone were too wet for the three drivers to test the hardest compounds, so the focus shifted to runs on the green-walled intermediates, using them with and without tire blankets.

As noted by Pirelli in the media report, “… a total of 201 laps were completed, 53 by Schumacher (best lap 1:37.428), 86 for Albon (1:41.116) and 62 for Fittipaldi (1:42.124).”

While there is no context associated with those times (such as whether Schumacher’s best lap came with or without tire blankets) it is worth noting that Hamilton’s best lap on intermediates during Sunday’s British Grand Prix, courtesy of data from F1 Tempo, was 1:37.220:

Screenshot 2024 07 09 at 4.20.59 PM

Lando Norris’ best lap on the intermediates during Sunday’s British Grand Prix — in the MCL38 remember — was a 1:36:746:

Screenshot 2024 07 09 at 4.22.36 PM

Schumacher’s test with McLaren comes ahead of Alpine’s decision regarding their second seat for the 2025 season. Ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix Alpine confirmed that Pierre Gasly would be returning to the team next season on a new, “multi-year” contract. Earlier this season the team announced they and driver Esteban Ocon would be parting ways at the end of the 2024 campaign.

That means one spot remains for the team to fill, and Schumacher is under consideration for that position. Also under consideration is Jack Doohan, and the two drivers recently completed a testing session at Circuit Paul Ricard in the A522, Alpine’s challenger for the 2022 F1 season.

Alpine is also making a push for Carlos Sainz Jr., who has yet to decide where he will drive next year. Sainz was strongly linked with Williams earlier this season, but Alpine has joined the fray for his services, along with Sauber/Audi.

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