How to stop the Schumacher rumours

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari could stop all the rumours about the multiple World Champion retiring at the end of 2006 by announcing a new deal for Schumacher for 2007 or by admitting that Michael is quitting. One of the problems is that in recent years Ferrari has tied up its contractual arrangements much earlier than other teams with announcements coming 18 months in advance.

But not this year - and so people want to know why.

A deal has been done with Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello has departed for BAR but there is no word on Schumacher and there is much obfuscation and word-mincing going on about what is happening in the future with downright denials few and far between, and coming only from untrustworthy sources.

It may be that Michael is playing for time to see what he wants for the future - and to see if Ferrari can build a competitive car next year. This seems the only sensible explanation because to fail to announce a decision makes little sense, one way or the other, if a decision has been made.

This however is not a healthy position for Ferrari because in order to secure the best drivers for the long-term future it needs to make a move soon in case Schumacher does take a walk. Until recently Ferrari had the luxury of being able to wait as long as it wanted for such decisions (and didn't) but with performance disappointing this year that advantage has been somewhat eroded, although of course Ferrari remains Ferrari and some drivers will do anything to drive for the team.

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