Schumacher future sealed by Marlboro

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER's future at Ferrari has been boosted by the announcement that the team's principal sponsor Marlboro will continue with the team until the end of 2006.

The continuation of the contract with Philip Morris, which owns the Marlboro brand, will ensure the team has enough funds to keep hold of the German when his contract comes to an end after the 2002 season.

"I am very pleased we can extend for several more years the successful collaboration with Philip Morris," said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

The two companies have been in partnership since 1984 and will be together for another five years. Marlboro will leave Formula One at the end of the 2006 season, when tobacco advertising is banned from the sport.

Hans Fluri, president of Philip Morris' European Region, said: "We are absolutely delighted that we will continue the very successful relationship that Marlboro has enjoyed with Ferrari since 1984.

"We are extremely proud of our long-standing association with such a superb and outstanding company as Ferrari.

"In extending our relationship with Ferrari to 2006 we are mindful that the European Union wishes to phase out sponsorship activities by that date."

Ferrari will also take encouragement from the fact that teams sponsored by Marlboro have amassed 10 drivers' titles and nine constructors' championships.

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