Motor Racing: Schumacher deal: German wins early release

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL Schumacher, the drivers' world championship leader, has re-negotiated his contract to allow his release a year early from Benetton. Schumacher's manager, Willi Weber, said yesterday that the German's contract - which ran until the end of 1996 - had been altered with improved terms.

'The contract had to be changed in several areas,' Weber said. 'Michael's image was damaged, there is no question of that, and we had to do something about that.'

Weber added that although the new conditions had yet to be signed, Schumacher would receive considerably more money. 'He is richer and stronger than before,' the manager said.

Though Weber would not say exactly how much Schumacher would receive in 1995, it is likely to be at least twice as much as his current pounds 3.6m salary. 'It is important for me that it does not seem we took all this action just to squeeze more money out,' Weber said.

The 25-year-old driver had earlier told the German RTL television station: 'I will definitely be with Benetton until the end of the current season. And it is 99 per cent certain I will stay with the same team next season. The decisive thing is that I will be free at the end of 1995.'

Schumacher will receive pounds 420,000 for each of his three remaining races this season, starting with the European Grand Prix, in Jerez, on 16 October, when he makes his comeback after missing two races through suspension.