F1 musings

(GMM) A day is a long time in formula one.

Although mystery has surrounded Michael Schumacher's future beyond 2006, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo now says the German is almost certain to stick around on the grid next season.

''He wants to remain for another year,'' the Italian revealed to La Gazzetta dello Sport, ''but it would be better if he would sign a contract for two more years.''

At the Silverstone-owning 'BRDC' club, a new president now reigns; taking over from Sir Jackie Stewart is another ex-champion — 1996 winner Damon Hill.

A twelfth team – 'Prodrive' – will race in 2008, but one of the squads that missed out, Trevor Carlin's 'Carlin Motorsport', has vowed to keep a sharp eye on a possible debut in 2009.

David Richards' Prodrive, meanwhile, is already on the hunt for a carmaker-partner, in the same mould as its successful rallying foray with Subaru. ''We have had approaches from two or three manufacturers over the last 18 months (about F1),'' the Briton told the Daily Telegraph.

In Italy, the trial of two former Ferrari engineers charged with industrial espionage involving Toyota commenced on Friday.

At the Maranello factory, however, technical director Ross Brawn was busy rejecting Honda counterpart Geoff Willis' suggestion that video evidence is proof that the rear wing of the '248' car still flexes.

''If all you look at are videos,'' the Ferrari man told Auto Motor Und Sport, ''then every car out there is illegal.''

Speculation rumbled on about who might replace Fernando Alonso at Renault next year. Williams' Mark Webber didn't want to throw his name into the hat, but he did tell ITV: ''Flavio (Briatore) manages me so he has got control of the hat in many ways!''

Also in control of the 'hat', however, is Frank Williams, who could take up an option on Webber's contract for 2007.

Something that is unlikely to change for a little while, meanwhile, is Renault's current dominance.

Despite finishing second to the Bridgestone-shod Ferrari of Michael Schumacher at Imola, the team's technical director Bob Bell said: ''I suspect (Nurburgring and Spain) will be Michelin races, and that our main competition will come from the (other) Michelin teams.''

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