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Schumi looking forward to doing nothing
Alan Baldwin | September 13, 2006 17:31 IST
Michael Schumacher has enough money to retire without having to worry about ever working again.
Yet within minutes of announcing at Monza last Sunday that he would quit racing at the end of the season, the most successful -- and richest -- driver in Formula One history faced questions about what he would do next.
After months of intense speculation about the German's intentions, the debate has now switched to the his life after racing.
It is inconceivable that someone like Schumacher, seven times a world champion, with his competitive spirit and drive will not want to do more than staying at home with his wife and children.
Ferrari, a team he has likened to a second family, will remain a big part of his life but that role will not be defined before the end of the year when the new team structure is announced.
"His relationship with Maranello will continue, albeit in a different form and I am very happy about that," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said at the weekend.
There have been suggestions that Schumacher could have some sort of managerial role, perhaps working for or alongside team boss Jean Todt.
Also read: Schumacher, a controversial great
He could work with the team's drivers or even help with testing, an idea mooted already by chief race engineer Luca Baldisserri who is technical director Ross Brawn's number two and heir apparent.
"I have already asked Todt and (Stefano) Domenicali to convince him to test our cars, after all driving is what he most loves doing," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
Equally he could become a global ambassador for Formula One's glamour marque.
He could even trade the Ferrari prancing horse for real ones, having once joked that he could devote himself in future to supporting his wife's equestrian career and mucking out stables at their home in Switzerland.
For the time being Schumacher is entirely focused on the last three races in China, Japan and Brazil and trying to win that unprecedented eighth title before he hangs up his helmet.
There is little chance of the 37-year-old making a comeback once he steps out of his red race car for the last time at Interlagos next month, even if there is already speculation about that as well.
Schumacher will be 38 before the start of next season, having already begun this year as the oldest man on the starting grid.
"This is going to be my last Monza race," he said on Sunday and those closest to him have no doubt that he means to go out on top and stay out.
"I always said that the day I will retire, I will just do nothing for a while," he said.
"And then I will see what I am doing, what is my mood and what's going to happen. But I will always be part of that Ferrari family. I will have to find out how, but I will always stick with my friends there."
Schumacher earned around $58 million in the year to June, according to Forbes.com, and has been the highest-paid driver for a decade.
The German has given away substantial amounts, last year alone donating $10 million to help victims of the South Asian tsunami, and has been an ambassador for UNESCO.
He has also re-written the record books from top to bottom, winning more races with more pole positions and more fastest laps than anyone else.
In a 2003 book written by his spokesman Sabine Kehm, Schumacher hinted at what the future might hold for him: "Just to live for the day, to wait and see what each day brings, I could imagine that could be exciting for a while," he said.
"When I finally give up, at first I will do nothing at all," he added.
"I am already looking forward to having no appointments, and not having the whole year planned out for me...I would like to enjoy the luxury of taking things as they come.
"I don't want to know in February everything I have to do in May, I want to get rid of the rhythm of the racing calendar. And sooner or later the roof will fall in on me."
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