The world won’t know the crucial detail, but in the Hockenheim paddock Michael Schumacher will already have decided whether or not to quit formula one at the end of 2006.
”By then he will have decided which path to take,” said the German’s personal manager Willi Weber, ”whether he will quit or continue.”
37-year-old Schumacher’s decision – to be made public at Monza – is not so much the key to the 2007 driver market, but a vital falling domino that is certain to set in motion many key moves.
Kimi Raikkonen is undoubtedly waiting for a vacancy at the Ferrari team, so therefore Renault and McLaren are waiting for the Finn. Felipe Massa is another domino in wait.
Even so, Weber is surprised at the level of interest in the subject; particularly with a high-interest race in Germany in wait.
”I was asked around 300 times at the Nuerburgring,” he confirmed to the Indo-Asian News Service, ”it’s getting on my nerves.”
Michael’s countryman Nick Heidfeld also observed: ”I sometimes feel sorry for him over this issue. I can imagine how annoying it is.”
The feeling in the paddock is that Schumacher is set to race on, with speculation that a two-year deal will include end-of-year out-clauses in the event that Schumacher tops the title.
Triple world champion Niki Lauda observed: ”There is no reason for retirement.
”Schumacher is in a fantastic form. He has everything under control at Ferrari — no rival and a competitive car.”