Tue, Aug 29, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Ecclestone doesn't know Schumacher's plans, Todt insists


Ferrari team chief Jean Todt has angrily rejected claims made by Bernie Ecclestone suggesting that Michael Schumacher will retire at the end of this year.

Frenchman Todt, sporting director of Ferrari and architect of the team's unequalled successes, said that Ecclestone knew nothing about Schumacher or his decision-making.

In the wake of a tumultuous Turkish Grand Prix at the Istanbul race track on Sunday, where Schumacher was beaten into third place by just a half a car's length by title rival and defending champion Fernando Alonso, Todt made it clear that he was upset.

Though he was delighted to see Brazilian Felipe Massa claim his maiden Grand prix victory for Ferrari on a day when the Italian team overcame Renault's challenge, he was determined to put the record straight.

Ecclestone had told German television during the weekend that he believed Schumacher had decided already to hang up his helmet at the end of this season -- so pre-empting Ferrari's planned announcement of their plans for next year due to be announced at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in September.

"Michael is always competitive, but he has probably already decided to retire," Ecclestone said.

Todt responded angrily.

"I tell you something," he said. "Bernie Ecclestone does not have a single element to judge what Michael has decided."

"You know, he has a good know-how about racing, but Michael joined Ferrari in 1996 and one day he will decide to stop. When the day arrives we will let you know," Todt said.

Ferrari will make an announcement about their driver line-up at the Italian Grand Prix.

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