SEPTEMBER 10, 2006
As we exclusively revealed on August 9 (Michael Schumacher to retire?), Michael Schumacher has announced his retirement. Ferrari has confirmed that Felipe Massa will be joined at the team by Kimi Raikkonen who is under contract to the team for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons. The team also confirmed that Luca Badoer will be the team's official test driver.
"I had always said that the decision to retire would be his alone, but now that decision has been taken, I feel a sense of sadness," said Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo. "We have lived through some unforgettable times together, some good, some bad, achieving results that will be hard to equal. To Michael goes the thanks of everyone in the company and supporters of Ferrari for all the dedication he has shown to our colours, for the determination and courage with which he has worked, which has provided immense satisfaction."
Schumacher himself began talking about his decision immediately after the chequered flag
"This is a very special day," he said. "It is great to finish this in this style, looking at the championship as well but much more at what is going to happen sometime in the future after much discussion. All the fans and motorsport-interested people had a right to be explained what's going to happen. I'm sorry it took longer than you would have wanted. But this is the right moment. This will be my last Monza race. I'm going to retire. It's been an exceptional time, a really exceptional time. I have really loved every single moment, the good and the bad ones, they are what make life so special.
"I particularly want to thanks my family, starting with my Dad and my late Mum, my wife and my kids, who at all times supported what I was doing. Without their strength to survive in this business and sport and to perform would have been impossible. I cannot be thankful enough. And to all my mates in the Benetton time, and especially in the Ferrari days, when I made so many friends, met so many great guys. It was a really tough to decide to not work at this level again with all of them."
Schumacher confirmed that he made his decision after the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis but the team decided to keep the secret until Monza.
Raikkonen did not say when it was he signed his Ferrari deal - rumours say it was in the summer of 2005 - but said that he was looking forward to working at Ferrari.
"I want to stress that I really enjoyed my time with McLaren he said. "I have the deepest respect for everybody and will be giving my all in the remaining races."
McLaren responded with grace.
"I have enjoyed working with Kimi over the past five seasons," said team boss Ron Dennis. "As a team we have achieved a lot of success. He is a very special driver and obviously everybody at McLaren wishes him all the best in his future career."
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