Mattia Binotto says Ferrari need to “prepare” Mick Schumacher for a possible promotion to Formula 1 next season.
The 21-year-old is the son of Ferrari legend and seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher.
The Scuderia brought Schumacher into the fold last year, signing him to their Driver Academy while he competed in the Formula 2 series.
Last year he finished 12th with Prema, bagging one race victory, while this season he is fighting fellow Ferrari juniors, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman, for the title.
Schumacher is second in the standings with 143 points, six behind Ilott and three ahead of Shwartzman.
Binotto has already said that results alone won’t decide which of the three drivers Ferrari promotes into Formula 1 next year with Alfa Romeo the most likely destination.
It seems, though, that the decision may have already been made.
The Ferrari team boss told RTL: “I am very happy that Mick is doing well in F2.
“His main focus has to be in F2, he is battling for the championship. That’s where he needs to be concentrated.
“Mick got a great opportunity or possibility next year to drive in F1.
“We need to prepare for that one.”
The Italian added that Schumacher will likely contest a few Formula 1 practice sessions before this season is over.
The German will be given time in either the Alfa Romeo or the Haas cars, both of which have close ties and are powered by Ferrari.
“We will give Mick some opportunities to drive in FP1,” Binotto said. “But we will not announce it yet.”
Asked why not, he explained: “We still need to arrange things.”
Schumacher’s uncle, Ralf, himself a former F1 driver, believes his nephew could be off to Alfa Romeo to partner Nico Hulkenberg in all-new line up with Kimi Raikkonen set to retire and Antonio Giovinazzi failing to set the stage alight.
“Everyone knows about the close co-operation between Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, it would make sense to place a newcomer there,” Schumacher told Sky Germany.
“I also think they are looking for two new drivers, an experienced man and a promising driver. Maybe negotiations are already under way with Hulkenberg.”