Ferrari would offer Schumacher Jr. a ‘red carpet’ to join driver academy

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Ferrari would offer Mick Schumacher a “red carpet” to join its young driver academy in the future should he wish to.

The son of seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, Schumacher Jr. is set to race in Formula 3 this year with Prema Powerteam.

The 17-year-old finished second in both the German and Italian F4 series last year, and has been linked with a possible move into a Formula 1 team’s young driver program in the future.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy, Ferrari Driver Academy manager Massimo Rivola said he would be closely monitoring Schumacher’s progress in F3 this year.

“Obviously we are following him,” Rivola said. “This year we will have the opportunity to be very close to Mick, because he will be teammate of our FDA driver [Guan Yu] Zhou.

“About his future, I don’t know what Mick will decide to do. But if he would like to enter the FDA program, he will find a red carpet.”

Rivola was full of praise for Schumacher’s manner and handling of the media, the latter given the level of scrutiny that comes with having a father who spent much of his life in the spotlight.

“Mick seems to be very polite and he’s not full of himself,” Rivola said.

“He’s very young and he must manage the great media pressure. But he is doing it very well.”

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”