|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Ferrari says Schumi to stay till 2006
June 09, 2003 21:39 IST
Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher will stay at Ferrari until the end of the 2006 season, the Italian team said on Monday.
Ferrari also said that the technical team that has been behind Schumacher's three straight world titles, including sporting director Jean Todt, would remain in place until 2006.
The move ensures that the team who have dominated the sport for the past three years will be together for at least three more seasons.
Five-times world champion Schumacher's existing deal was due to expire at the end of the 2004 season.
"Ferrari announces that Jean Todt will continue in his role as managing director of the Gestione Sportiva (team) until the end of 2006," the team said in a statement.
"Also continuing to report to him up to that date will be Technical Director Ross Brawn, Engine Director Paolo Martinelli, Chief Designer Rory Byrne and head of engine design Gilles Simon.
"Furthermore, Ferrari announces that it has extended its agreement with the driver Michael Schumacher to the end of the 2006 season," added the statement.
Schumacher, who won two titles with Benetton, is the most successful driver in Ferrari's history and took his third successive world title last year with six races to spare. He has a record 67 career wins.
The German has won three times this year and can regain the championship lead in Canada this weekend. He is currently four points behind McLaren's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen in the championship.
Frenchman Todt has been at the helm of FIAT-owned Ferrari throughout their recent successes which include the past four consecutive constructors' titles.
Ferrari's other driver, Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, is contracted to the team until the end of the 2004 season. He was not mentioned in Monday's statement.
The announcement ended immediate speculation about Schumacher's future and possible retirement.
The 34-year-old, who has two young children, has said that he wants to end his career with Ferrari and intends to continue for as long as he is having fun.