Hard on the heels of their defeat by Fernando Alonso and Renault in the drivers' and constructors' world championships in Brazil last weekend, Ferrari have announced expected changes in their management.
Besides Michael Schumacher, his long-time friend and colleague Ross Brawn, the technical director, will also be stepping aside. The Englishman, who masterminded Schumacher's successes at Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before both switched to Ferrari, has confirmed suggestions that he will take a sabbatical in 2007 as Kimi Raikkonen steps into Schumacher's racing boots.
Brawn's place will be taken by little-known Mario Almondo, a Ferrari industrial director, while the current team manager, Stefano Domenicalli, will take over as sporting director from Jean Todt.
Todt, Ferrari's chief executive officer, will take on an interim role as managing director of the company's Gestione Sportiva and both will report to him. As Aldo Costa continues to head the chassis department, Paolo Martinelli leaves the engine department for a position with the Fiat Group, and his deputy, Gilles Simon, steps up.
Speculation continues that Todt, who wanted to retire at the same time as Schumacher after they collectively wrote an extraordinary chapter in motor sport history with 11 world titles (six constructors' and five drivers') and close to 100 grand prix victories, was persuaded to stay on until the end of 2007 by the president, Luca di Montezemolo. That would create a measure of consistency, and it is thought that Brawn might then return to take over Todt's role in overall charge of Ferrari.