Haas’ Mick Schumacher says any lap in preparation for his Formula 1 debut this year is useful, as his first experience with the VF-21 was limited due to gearbox issues.
Schumacher took the car onto the track in the morning session at the Bahrain International Circuit as pre-season testing got underway but a hydraulics issue necessitated a gearbox change.
Although Schumacher was able to return to the track before the session ended, he completed just 15 laps, with Nikita Mazepin running in the afternoon, as per Haas’ decision to split running on each day.
Despite the hitch, the German remains positive about the day, asserting every lap is valuable to his progression.
“It was great, obviously I would’ve loved some more laps, it would’ve been great to get those laps in that unfortunately we lost due to a gearbox issue,” Schumacher said.
“We sat in the box for quite a while but fortunately we got to go out for a few laps at the end.
“Obviously conditions are not great, having a sandstorm here at the minute. Not amazing but still valuable time in the car.
“Any laps is great in the car, I learn from the first lap to the last lap. If it’s only 15 then it’s better than nothing. [I’m] happy to be in the car, happy to be able to push at times and try some things.”
Many drivers struggled amid the windy conditions that blew sand onto the circuit, including Schumacher’s team-mate Mazepin, who spun at Turn 11 in the afternoon.
“It’s very gusty, so it’s very unpredictable,” Schumacher explained. “It makes it different from corner to corner really.
“That’s something you have to get used to. The F1 cars these days are very wind-affected so any little wind gust sets off the car massively.
“That’s why I think we saw quite a few spins and moments on track today. It will be interesting to see how it is tomorrow. Hopefully it will be better than today and we’ll get to do a lot of laps.”