Schumacher signs new Ferrari deal

UPDATE #6 Michael Schumacher will not make an announcement about his future intentions at the European Grand Prix this weekend, his manager Willi Weber said Tuesday. "I would like his decision to be made as soon as possible, but I can say for definite that there will be no decision made this weekend," Weber said.

04/19/06 (GMM) F1's latest whisper suggests that Ferrari will officially announce a new contract for Michael Schumacher at the Nurburgring race in May.

Germany's 'sid' news agency said the 37-year-old had now finally decided to stick around in 2007, after speculation raged that he might either retire or switch to another formula one team.

Schumacher has also consistently insisted that any decision would not be forthcoming until closer to mid-season.

But 'sid' reported that the seven time world champion has put pen to paper on a new two-year deal, allegedly with a small pay increase, to take his $50m a-year career to the end of 2008.

Norbert Haug has denied that McLaren-Mercedes' Kimi Raikkonen is already a signed-and-sealed Ferrari driver for 2007.

The German, Mercedes' competition director, told 'Motorsport Aktuell' that he did not believe recent reports that McLaren's Finn penned a contract with the red-colored team more than a full year ago.

''I can not imagine that such a thing would happen behind our backs,'' said German Haug.

He said it would not make sense for a top driver to have committed to Ferrari last year. ''If you imagine, (Raikkonen) was sitting in the fastest car in the business, and Ferrari was in crisis.''

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, however, told the same publication that he believed Raikkonen was definitely Ferrari-bound.

04/18/06 Speaking to The Times of London, Michael Schumacher says he sees no reason why he will not stay on with Ferrari.

"It is very likely that I would stay with the color red," he said. "There are obviously other options but at this stage, I won't consider them. Why should I?

"I am so happy here. We have such a good relationship and we have known each other for so long that I would have to have a very good reason to move to another team.

"It is more complex than just considering myself. There are a lot of other factors that are very important, such as whether the team is competitive and what other things are going on and I need to verify those."

04/17/06 Speaking to the Neue Zuercher Zeitung over the weekend, Ferrari Principal Jean Todt refuses to reply to the Raikkonen and Schumacher rumors.

“Those who have all this information, are blessed!" he said. “On the day when we wish to announce our drivers, then we will do it. It surely won’t be a newspaper that will drive us to it."

“People are anyway never content with what they already know. It must be more. If we announced now that Michael has signed for a further ten years with Ferrari, then they would all ask: "and afterwards, what will he do afterwards?"

“I do not believe what is written in the newspapers. This morning I read everywhere that Schumacher wants to go to Renault. That is stupidity in the first degree and so stupid that I will not react to it at all. I am convinced that it is one of our strengths, not to react to such speculation at all."

04/17/06 Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn has revealed that the team won't be rushing Michael Schumacher into making a decision on this future.

Despite rumors, Brawn claims that although they are in talks with the seven-time World Champion, nothing has been signed yet.

"Currently, there are discussions taking place, but it is up to Schumacher to decide," Brawn told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

"We did not set any deadlines for him, but I assume he will give Ferrari an answer in May or June. I see no reason for it [retiring]," he added. "Michael is as motivated as always. And, he has more experience than any other driver in the field today. He needs a car capable of winning, though. And it's up to us to give him that."

04/16/06 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher has apparently agreed a deal to stay with Ferrari in 2007 and 2008, having signed a new £60 million contact.

Although there is still no official confirmation from the team and no announcement is expected until the summer, British newspaper, The News of the World is reporting that the deal is done, although he has a special clause in it, that means he could quit one year early, if he felt the desire.

"Michael is going to carry on next year," a Ferrari 'insider' told the tabloid 'paper. "He sees no reason why he should retire because the motivation to win is still there. Only a few people at the team know the deal has been done."

If the rumors are true that Kimi Raikkonen has also signed with Ferrari, it will give Ferrari one of their strongest driver lineups in quite awhile. It would also mean that Valentino Rossi is shut out of a Ferrari ride amid much speculation that he would get it.

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