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OCTOBER 8, 2000

No lifting off for Schumacher

FRESHLY-CROWNED Formula One champion Michael Schumacher is set to stay with Ferrari for the rest of his career, his manager Willy Weber said in Japan on Sunday.

He will certainly see out his contract with the 'Prancing Horse' and may well stay beyond its expiration in 2002.

As Schumacher celebrated wrapping up his third drivers' crown in Suzuka at the Japanese Grand Prix Weber said: "He will stay come what may at least until the end of his contract in 2002."

Neither party has sat down and discussed terms for a new deal and Weber said Ferrari and Schumacher would leave that for the time being as they let the victory sink in.

"We want to celebrate first. But anyway, why would he leave a team crowned with success and where he feels good?" Weber said.

When asked what conditions Schumacher might place on an extension to his multi-million dollar deal Weber said that the contracts of technical director Ross Brawn and sporting director Jean Todt, which expire next year, would be instrumental in his decision.

"Brawn and Todt are very important figures for Michael," he added. "I can well imagine he will want to continue working in this successful team."

Speaking after watching Schumacher cross the line to see off the challenge of McLaren rival Mika Hakkinen, Weber spoke of his delight.

"Winning the title with Ferrari - what could be better? I was shaking like a leaf right to the end," said Weber.

"Michael really deserved this title. He's on the way to stacking up a whole collection."