JUNE 3, 2003
Hey guess what?
It must be contract negotiation time down at Maranello because suggestions that Juan Pablo Montoya could replace Michael Schumacher at Ferrari are not very likely to happen unless Michael decides he does not want to stay beyond the end of his current contract, which runs out at the end of 2004. Suggestions that Montoya will go to Ferrari should not be seen as very significant beyond the fact that we are now in the negotiation phase for a number of new contracts. Ferrari has made it clear that it needs to make economies in the future and that has led to suggestions that Michael's salary may need to be cut or that he might be willing to take shares in the company. These were followed by rumors, probably emanating from the Schumacher camp, that Michael was actually going to get even more money. Now come stories of Montoya being a possible replacement and it is sensible to see these as the next round of the pushing and shoving.
They will do Montoya no harm at all - although he says that he knows nothing about any talks - but it is clear that he too would like to up his salary from Williams as he is currently being paid about half what Ralf Schumacher receives and is outperforming Ralf. His contract is up for renegotiation at the end of next year and Williams are unlikely to want (or to be able to) to pay two drivers salaries of $15m a year. It is worth noting that Juan Pablo's manager Julian Jakobi has been busy talking all around the paddock notably at McLaren and Toyota, although it should be remembered that he is not only representing Montoya but also McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa and CART runners Dario Franchitti, Dan Wheldon and Oriol Servia.
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