<
>

Ferrari would welcome Mick Schumacher to academy with 'red carpet'

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

Ferrari would welcome Mick Schumacher to its junior programme with a "red carpet", according to the man charged with overseeing the team's driver academy.

Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion and Ferrari legend Michael, is stepping up to the European Formula 3 championship this year. His junior career has already been the subject of intense scrutiny and he has been linked with a junior deal at Mercedes, the team his father ended his career with in 2012.

Ferrari would be open to a similar deal for the 17-year-old.

Massimo Rivola, the manager of the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA), told 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 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 thinks Schumacher has dealt admirably with the pressure attached to being the son of F1's most successful driver.

"Mick seems very polite and he's not full of himself -- so congratulations to his parents. 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."

Schumacher was a guest of Mercedes and Ferrari at this year's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, watching qualifying from the garage of the latter. Father Michael won five of his seven world championships with Ferrari in a period of unmatched dominance in the early 2000s. His tally of 91 wins remains far and away the most by any driver -- Lewis Hamilton is a distant second on 53.