£32m Schumacher to stay with Ferrari

Michael Schumacher will serve out his contract with Ferrari but the Formula One driver will likely be earning £30m a year afterwards, his manager claims.

Michael Schumacher will serve out his contract with Ferrari but the Formula One driver will likely be earning £30m a year afterwards, his manager claims.

"Every manager lives from good contracts and we have one with Ferrari which runs until 2002 and will be respected," Willi Weber told the weekly Sport Bild. Weber said he doesn't know if Schumacher will stick with the Italian racing team afterwards, but he is convinced his client will be able to command $50 million (£32m) a year because of supply-and-demand.

Weber said there are fewer and fewer top drivers, who will be sought after by the handful of multinational companies that sponsor a Formula One racing team.

"These global companies can't stick $50 million yearly into the technical end and at the same time save on those that are supposed to carry out their plans in the cockpit," he said. Schumacher, a two-time champion, is by far the best paid Formula One driver and one of the highest paid sports figures in the world.

Weber also supported the 31-year-old Schumacher's recent announcement that he would drive another nine years. "Michael generally considers 40 the age limit for the Grand Prix sport, not just in regard to his career," he said.

Weber said he was confident Schumacher would win Ferrari's first driver's title in 21 years this season. The German's lead has melted from 24 to six points over McLaren's David Coulthard heading into Sunday's German Grand Prix.

"I don't see any crisis," Weber said. "I think Michael will set the record straight by winning at Hockenheim and then in Budapest. "It gets tougher year after year and pressure keeps growing but this year we're definitely due to win the world championship. Michael will not let it slip away," he added.

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