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Motor Racing: Schumacher's future at Ferrari is assured

THE CHAIRMAN of Ferrari has offered a vote of support to Michael Schumacher by confirming that the German will continue to be the team's No 1 driver.

"He represents an unquestionable and important reality for Ferrari's future because he's the best driver in the world," Luca di Montezemolo was quoted as saying in yesterday's Gazzetta dello Sport. "I can't wait for him to get back."

It is still not clear when that will be. Schumacher broke his right leg in two places in a head-on crash into a tyre wall at the British Grand Prix on 11 July.

Tomorrow, he is scheduled to meet with doctors in Geneva to decide when to start the training. Media reports have suggested Schumacher would resume training as soon as Saturday, with an eye towards the Hungarian Grand Prix in mid-August. "My hope is to see him racing in Monza in September," Montezemolo said.

Ferrari has continued to do well in Schumacher's absence. Eddie Irvine, the team's No 2 driver, won his second race in a row on Sunday in Germany and now leads the championship.

Schumacher said at the weekend that he would be willing to drive behind Irvine if it helped Ferrari to win their first drivers' title in 20 years.