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.”

Supercross: Haiden Deegan debuts in 250s at Houston, Justin Cooper graduates to 450 class for Star Yamaha

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Rising star Haiden Deegan will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut in Houston, Texas with Yamaha Star Racing while the 2021 250 West champion Justin Cooper graduates to 450s.

Deegan, the son of motocross and off-road legend Brian Deegan and brother of NASCAR Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan, made two starts in the Pro Motocross outdoors season last year. He finished 31st overall at the Ironman Nationals in Crawfordsville, Indiana and was 13th at Fox Raceway in the season-ender at Fox Raceway in Pala, California, but the overall results did not necessarily reflect how well he ran. In both events, he challenged for top-10s during portions of the week and actually finished 10th in one of the Pala motos.

Last week, Haiden finished fifth in the Supercross 250 Futures in Anaheim 2.

“We’re really excited to get the season on the East Coast started,” said Monster Energy Team Manager Jensen Hendler in a press release. “It’s also exciting to have Haiden move up to join our pro program this season and to have Justin make his debut on the 450. The guys have been working hard and are looking forward to seeing what they can do this weekend in Houston.”

After scoring a 250SX Futures podium, Talon Hawkins gets 250 East ride.

Deegan will join Nate Thrasher and Jordon Smith in the 250 East division this week.

Cooper moves into the 450 class this weekend. According to Supercross rules, after winning the 2021 championship, he had one season to defend his title and then would be required to move up a class. Cooper missed all of last year to injury.

Cooper was healthy when the outdoor season started and he earned five podiums and nine top-fives in 12 rounds. Three of these races ended in runners-up finishes, at Hangtown, in Rancho Cordova, California, Washougal, Washington and Unadilla, New York.

Cooper joins Eli Tomac and Dylan Ferrandis in the 450 class and will race select events.

Justin Cooper learned to temper aggression with speed

Cooper’s Houston attempt will be the first of an undisclosed number of races he will compete in during the 2023 season.

“It’s been about two years since I’ve lined up for a supercross, and now it’s in a new class with the best guys, so I’m excited to just get out there,” Cooper said. “I’m looking to get back under the lights and learn what I can. Overall, I’m just really excited to be in the position to be out there, so I’m going to make the most of it and enjoy it!”

Deegan and Cooper will be part of a seven-rider Supercross lineup for Yamaha Star Racing. Nick Romano will debut in the 250 East division later this year.