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Ralf prepared to take pay cut: Weber
Alan Baldwin | March 23, 2004 18:01 IST
Ralf Schumacher wants to stay at Williams next year and will take a pay cut to do so, according to manager Willi Weber.
Weber said the German's chances of remaining with the BMW-powered Formula One team looked good, despite media speculation that big-spending Toyota were after him as negotiations with Williams drag on.
Despite suggestions from Williams that money was the sticking point and media speculation that Ralf has been holding out for more, Weber denied that was the case.
"It's not true. Fact is that we lose some money from what we earn this year," he told Reuters. "It's not lost, but the fixed payment will be reduced.
"The bonus point is that if Ralf is doing well, gets on the podium or wins races, then the money increases and will be the same as what we have now.
"It is not the case that we talk about money," added Weber, who also represents six times champion Michael and has masterminded some hugely lucrative deals in the past. "It is sorted out."
The manager, who attended Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix won by Ralf's older brother Michael for Ferrari, said he would sit down again with team boss Frank Williams after next week's Bahrain Grand Prix.
Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, second on Sunday at Sepang, is leaving Williams for McLaren at the end of the season and Ralf would guarantee the team continuity alongside a new arrival.
The German has been at the team since 1999, winning six races.
Weber was quoted by Germany's Bild newspaper this month as saying that an agreement had been reached with Renault boss Flavio Briatore 'on all major issues' and that finalising a contract was merely a formality.
The report prompted denials from Renault and Weber, who also dismissed speculation about Toyota.
"I read this in the newspaper, I have never spoken with them," he said. "I just read in the paper that they are interested in making some offer. Fact is that I have not spoken with Toyota and Renault about Ralf because again we want to stay in the team.
"Williams are the main choice and we are discussing with Frank Williams," he said.
"We had a small meeting (on Saturday) and I can say it was very good, so it looks always better. I want to stay with the team, Ralf also and I think that's the story."
Weber said there was no deadline for a contract and negotiations could continue up to the Hungarian Grand Prix in August if necessary.
"There's no deadline. We just said we must draw a line to speak together because Ralf wants to know what is going on in the future," he said. "But I don't want to say it's a deadline after Bahrain.
"Even after Hungary is enough time."