Sometimes you just have to laugh. The rumor mill is becoming so desperate about the future of Michael Schumacher that its latest speculations border on the realms of fantasy. One rumor is that there will be three drivers on the card to be announced by Ferrari at Monza – Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Raikkonen – but their status for 2007 will be decided at a later date.
Ummm, yeah, okay. So are they saying that Michael might be retained as a test driver? I’m sure we can all see that happening (not!). All it really means is that nobody knows because Michael has not made his decision yet and probably won’t have by the time of the announcement. If anything, I suppose it gives some support to the view that Michael does not relish the thought of Kimi as his teammate next year.
This possibility is strengthened by a report that Kimi has signed two contracts for 2007, one with Ferrari and the other with Renault. The idea is that the Renault deal includes a clause that allows Raikkonen to drive for Ferrari if Michael retires. I can just about see Renault signing such a compromise, so desperate are they to get the Finn, but Ferrari is another matter. And there is no mention of a clause in the Ferrari contract to release Kimi if Michael stays. Will Kimi end up doing a Hockenheim on us by driving for the two teams alternately?
The whole thing is ridiculous and, to be frank, no driver is worth such insane contractual deals. Michael’s status has been so elevated over the years that it becomes almost possible to believe that team managers would squabble over the top drivers in this way but that gives them little credit for understanding the real abilities of drivers. Michael is pretty good, yes, but so are many more in the F1 paddock.
I do not have “sources close to Ferrari” and Flavio doesn’t even know my name. Any guess at the outcome of all this is based entirely upon observation and a bit of common sense. And my prediction, for what it’s worth, is that Michael will stay at Ferrari, whether or not he wins the Championship, and Kimi will go to Renault. Another week or so and we should see how close to the truth I am.