Honda website
Honda website

APRIL 26, 2006

Michael Schumacher's contract

There are widespread reports that Ferrari is offering Michael Schumacher a new two-year deal worth $45m a year, with a clause which would allow him to leave if he wins the World Championship. This makes sense although everyone involved is dismissing it as pure speculation. The fact that this has appeared in the press suggests that someone wants the information out in the marketplace and the only reason for that being necessary is to encourage someone else to make Michael a better offer. This makes sense as Schumacher's management recently admitted to the media that there was interest in Schumacher from Renault, a move which was presumably designed to focus Ferrari's attention on the numbers on offer.

When all is said and done, however, the decision may not be taken with money as the main deciding factor. Schumacher wants to go out on a high, whether he admits or not. If he believes Ferrari can offer him that chance, he will take it, if not he is likely to move. Renault needs a star name when Fernando Alonso goes off to McLaren and while Heikki Kovalainen may one day become that, the idea that Renault will willingly go into 2007 with Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella is not really credible. It is worth noting comments the other day from Renault F1 boss Alain Dassas which obviously strengthened Renault's commitment to the sport. They might have been designed as a message to the GPMA but at the same time, the message might have been for Michael.

Kimi Raikkonen is currently in a comfortable position as he can stay at McLaren or move to Ferrari or Renault and, if stories are to be believed, he will get a big pay-off if Ferrari does not take up his option. The best case scenario for him might be to take a big pay-off from Ferrari and then race for Renault.