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Irvine to stay with Ferrari in 1997

FERRARI president Luca di Montezemolo confirmed at Hockenheim during the weekend that Eddie Irvine is to stay with the team next season. Irvine was signed in September last year on a one year contract with options to continue in 1997 andĘ1998.

Although Irvine has not been able to match Michael Schumacher on a regular basis, the Ulsterman has played a good supporting role and will provide continuity, which Jean Todt knows is the best foundation for a successful racing team.

Montezemolo and Schumacher are already negotiating for the 1998 season with the German keen to ensure that everything is settled well in advance. The 1998 season will be Ferrari's big chance to win the World Championship because Williams and Benetton will both be starting new relationships with engine manufacturers. Usually this guarantees a few teething problems which gives rivals the chance to challenge. Ferrari's main opposition in 1998 is likely to be McLaren-Mercedes.

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