Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto the future of Mick Schumacher will be discussed in a few races' time, as rumours gather pace that the German will lose both his F1 race seat at Haas and his place within Ferrari's Driver Academy in 2023.
The German endured a difficult start to 2022, being comprehensively overshadowed by new teammate and F1 returnee Kevin Magnussen, and suffering high-speed shunts during the Saudi Arabia and Monaco Grand Prix weekends, prompting public criticism from Haas team boss Guenther Steiner.
Though Schumacher's form did subsequently improve, with the German scoring points in Britain and Austria, he still trails Magnussen in the Drivers' Championship by 12 points to 22.
Speaking to media including RacingNews365.com during the Italian Grand Prix weekend, Binotto said Schumacher still needed to improve, adding that a decision over the German's future at both Haas and as part of Ferrari's Driver Academy would be reached over the coming races.
"The Ferrari Driver Academy is a very important pillar of our team and we'll continue investing a lot in it," said Binotto.
"We believe it's important to develop the best talent and look for the future, to try to find the best talent for [Ferrari].
"With Mick, as we said at the start of the season, it's important for Mick this season to improve.
"We will in a few races sit down with him, make a balance of the season, and we'll do that as well together with Haas and decide his best future."
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Shwartzman in line for more prominent Ferrari role?
With uncertainty over Schumacher's status with Ferrari, Binotto also talked up the ability of the team's current test driver Robert Shwartzman.
After finishing second in the 2021 Formula 2 championship, Shwartzman has not raced competitively this year, as the Russo-Israeli driver concentrates on his testing duties with Ferrari.
However, despite a lack of racing in 2022, Binotto said Shwartzman was nevertheless a more complete driver than in 2021, adding that he would drive for Ferrari during two Grand Prix practice sessions between now and the end of the season.
"Robert is a fantastic driver. Whenever he drove an F1 [car] he has been very fast," said Binotto.
"There are drivers that maybe are great in F3, F2 and then are not good enough in F1.
"I think Robert is the opposite. He has been great certainly in F3, F2 but he's very, very strong in F1, and it's a shame for him not having [a race] seat at the moment.
"This season, he has worked a lot at the simulator, helping our team in developing the current car.
"I think, as a driver, he has improved, he has developed his own skills and today he's a lot more mature, even to a year ago, and so I think he's a driver that would deserve a [race] seat.
"We know it's very difficult right now in this situation, but hopefully in the future that may happen."
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