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Ralf Schumacher close to Renault deal

March 09, 2004 10:58 IST

Ralf Schumacher might drive for Renault from 2005 instead of extending his contract with Williams, the German's manager has been quoted as saying.

"We've reached an agreement with (Renault) team chief Flavio Briatore on all major issues," Willi Weber told German daily Bild in an article released before its publication on Tuesday.

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"Finalising a contract is merely a formality," he added.

Neither team made an official statement and when asked about a possible deal with Renault Ralf Schumacher told Bild: "There will be a decision in the next few days. We shall see."

Ralf and Williams have been arguing for weeks over a possible extension to the driver's contract, which expires at the end of this season.

Ralf, the younger brother of world champion Michael, has accused Frank Williams of not keeping his word and has denied that money was the problem in the negotiations.

If Ralf joined Renault, Williams would be without a driver for 2005. Their other driver, Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, has already signed to drive for McLaren from next year.

By mentioning Renault, Weber, who has previously said Toyota was an option, could be trying to put pressure on Williams to act swiftly and accept Ralf's conditions or risk losing him.

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