Schumacher extends stay at Ferrari

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The Independent Online
Michael Schumacher has demonstrated his faith in Ferrari by extending his contract with the Italian team to the end of 1999, writes Derick Allsop.

The German, who surrendered his world championship to Damon Hill this year, is thought to have agreed a deal worth pounds 40m for the additional two seasons of his commitment to Ferrari.

Negotiations will have covered also the identity of Schumacher's team-mate, and it is significant that Ferrari's announcement yesterday confirmed Eddie Irvine would be retained for next year and that the Ulsterman had an option with the team for 1998.

Above all, however, Schumacher must have been satisfied with the progress and potential at Maranello. As his earnings outside racing more than match his salary, he can well afford to indulge his sporting ambition and it is his aim to regain the title at the wheel of a Ferrari.

Lola have confirmed that they are returning to Formula One next season for the first time since 1993 after securing a four-year sponsorship deal with Mastercard. Possible drivers include the Brazilians Ricardo Rosset and Ricardo Zonta, a double winner in this year's Formula 3000 series.