Countrymen back Ralf Schumacher to exit F1

Wed, 5 September 2007, 10:32

A former grand prix driver and countryman of Ralf Schumacher has tipped the German veteran to exit formula one at the end of the 2007 season.

Michael Bartels, who failed to qualify for four races with Lotus in 1991, told the German newspaper ‘TZ’ that the 32-year-old has not performed well enough at Toyota this year to earn another contract anywhere near the front of the 2008 grid.

“If you think about how many young drivers are waiting on the sidelines, it will be very difficult for Ralf,” said Bartels, who currently races a Maserati in the FIA GT championship.

And he added: “In light of his current achievements, Ralf is absolutely over-paid.”

Another of Ralf’s countrymen, former grand prix winner Heinz-Harald Frentzen, urged Schumacher to explore reports this week that his former DTM employer Audi might be prepared to accommodate him next year.

Referring to rumours that Audi is prepared to spend more than $3m to entice Ralf to the German touring car series next year, 40-year-old Frentzen told Sport Bild: “He would be worth even more than that.

“He would bring along so much current know-how from formula one and would pay back the team’s sponsors three-fold.”

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