Honda website
Honda website

JUNE 13, 2006

Schumacher to stay at Ferrari until 2008?

There are reports in Germany that Michael Schumacher will be staying at Ferrari for two more years. These could easily be true but the one thing that makes them suspect is that there is no need for any delay to be made if a deal has been struck. If Schumacher really has signed the deal the news is going to leak very quickly and so Ferrari would, logically, make an immediate announcement, to stop further speculation and allow everyone to get on with their work. The fact that this has not happened would mitigate against a contract having been signed.

The big question that such a deal would create is what happens to Kimi Raikkonen if Schumacher stays where he is? Kimi is unlikely to have agreed to a deal at Ferrari if Michael is to retain his number one status and it is hard to imagine that Michael has voluntarily given up this enormous advantage. That is not his style.

It is always possible that Raikkonen will stay where he is at McLaren, or he could move to Renault but the fact that Flavio Briatore has not signed his own Renault contract suggests that no such deal is done. Briatore does not want to stay on in a team that does not have the drivers who can win a World Championship next year. He would rather leave F1.

Over at McLaren Ron Dennis says that the team has all the eventualities covered which presumably means that either Raikkonen stays with Fernando Alonso or the team takes on another driver in place of Juan Pablo Montoya. The word is that this will be Lewis Hamilton but that is probably dependent on how he goes in testing.

If Raikkonen and Schumacher do end up together at Ferrari, the team will need to find a place for Felipe Massa and the logical thing would be for him to be shipped off to Red Bull Racing - if the team wants him.

That would create a big problem for Renault because if Michael and Kimi stay at Ferrari, the team will not have a topline star. Mark Webber is a possible recruit but Flavio Briatore tries to avoid putting drivers he manages into the same teams as it means that he is cutting the value of one or the other.