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Todt's new Ferrari contract

FERRARI's sporting director Jean Todt is in the process of negotiating a new contract for himself at Ferrari and although Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo says that there is a job for him at Maranello for as long as he would like it, Todt has yet to agree on the terms of the contract.

Todt joined Ferrari on a five-year contract on July 1, 1993. He completely restructured the team and played a major role in signing up Michael Schumacher. Since then Ferrari has been built around the German driver. This has proved to be very successful but the danger is that Schumacher could leave Maranello which would plunge the team back into instability as others follow Michael - as happened at Benetton.

The 52-year-old Todt was hoping that the team would be in a position to win the World Championship this year with Schumacher but the performance of the two McLaren-Mercedes has made this seem rather unlikely, although officially Ferrari team members are still saying that all is not lost in the World Championship.

Todt and Schumacher are realists and know that it is not very likely although Michael may be able to win occasional races when McLaren makes mistakes or when there is wet weather.

Michael has one more year to run on his current Ferrari contract and although there are lots of rumors of offers from McLaren-Mercedes, it is unlikely that Schumacher would be able to get out of his Ferrari deal before the end of next year.

He has been offered another three-year deal by Ferrari, which is rumored to be worth $27m a year but he is unlikely to want to tie himself down this early as he is in a very strong bargaining position.

We would expect Todt to sign another long-term deal with Ferrari in the hope that Schumacher will stay with the team for another three years.

Another five-year contract for Todt would, more than likely, take him to retirement at 57 at the end of 2003.

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