Thursday 27 April 2017

Ferrari would roll out 'red carpet' if Mick Schumacher wanted to join their driver academy

Mick Schumacher has piqued the interest of Ferrari, the team his father drove for in F1. CREDIT: RONNY HARTMANN/AFP/GETTY
Mick Schumacher has piqued the interest of Ferrari, the team his father drove for in F1. CREDIT: RONNY HARTMANN/AFP/GETTY

Sean Gibson

The manager of the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) has said how impressed the Scuderia are with 17-year-old Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time champion Michael.

The young driver, who will make his debut in Formula 3 racing in 2017, has previously been linked to a junior role with the Mercedes F1 team, but Ferrari have also expressed a keen interest.

Massimo Rivola, manager of the FDA, told Italian news outlet Gazzetta dello Sport: "Obviously we follow him.

"And this year we will have the opportunity to stay very close to Mick because he will be the teammate of our FDA driver, [Guan Yu] Zhou, in the Prema team.

"About his future, I don't know what Mick will decide to do. But if he would like to enter the FDA programme, he will find a red carpet."

Rivola added that it was not only Schumacher Jr's on-track performances that had put him on Ferrari's radar, but also his conduct out of the car.

"Mick seems very polite and he's not full of himself - so congratulations to his parents," said Rivola. "They did a very good job with him.

"He's very young, and he must manage a very huge media pressure. But he is doing it very well."

Mick Schumacher makes the step up to F3 having finished runner-up in both the Italian F4 championship and the ADAC F4 championship in 2016.

F3 is becoming an increasingly important level of motor racing, as F1 teams trend towards selecting younger and younger drivers; both Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen made the jump directly from F3 to an F1 race seat.

The route to the Formula One grid could still be a long and winding one for for Mick, however, with several other drivers ahead of him in the 'queue' for a shot at one of the two Ferrari race seats currently occupied by Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

Ferrari last month signed Antonio Giovinazzi - runner-up in the GP2 series, one step down from F1 - as their third driver for 2017.

A chain reaction of promotions could free up space for Schumacher to advance, however, if Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene remains serious in his uncertainty over the future of four-time champion Vettel.

Schumacher senior raced for Ferrari between 1996 and 2006, a period of unprecedented, record-breaking dominance for the Italian outfit.

Michael won five consecutive driver's titles with the Scuderia (2000-2004) and won 72 Grands Prix in their time together, becoming one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport in the process.

The elder Schumacher is still recovering from injuries sustained in a skiing accident in December 2013 and there is still little-to-no news of his progress.

Telegraph.co.uk

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