The Schumacher name could be returning to the Ferrari fold if the Scuderia has its way after its Ferrari Driver Academy boss identified him as a potential target for its development programme.

The 17 year-old is enjoying a rapid ascension through the junior racing ranks after finishing runner-up in the Italian and German Formula 4 series' last year, Schumacher Jr graduating to European F3 this year with defending champions Prema.

Son of seven-time F1 world champion Michael, Schumacher Jr's progress and potential star power is being keenly observed by F1 teams, with Mercedes reportedly considering him for its junior programme.

For many however, an association with Ferrari - with whom his father won five world titles - is the dream scenario and FDA chairman Massimo Rivola admits an approach could be made if he stacks up well against current academy driver and new F3 team-mate Guanyu Zhou.

"Obviously we follow him and this year we can do it up close because he is racing alongside Zhou at Prema," Rivola told Gazzetta dello Sport. "However, in this case, it is that Mick who will have to choose. If he comes to the Ferrari Academy, he will find a red carpet.

Indeed, Rivola says he has already been left impressed with Schumacher's conduct off track in the face of intense media scrutiny about his father, who hasn't been seen in public since suffering a serious head injury in a skiing accident in 2013.

"At his age he must already face a huge media pressure, but he is managing very well."

Ferrari has enjoyed relatively limited success with its Ferrari Driver Academy, with only the late Jules Bianchi and Sergio Perez progressing to F1 whilst remaining part of the programme. Lance Stroll was also formerly part of the FDA but had left before his 2016 European F3 title win and subsequent F1 promotion with Williams.

However, it is expecting results in 2017 with Charles Leclerc and Antonio Fuoco competing as team-mates in GP2 with defending champions Prema.

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