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What Does No Rossi Mean For The Market?

What Does No Rossi Mean For The Market?

Michael Schumacher & Valentino RossiNow that Valentino Rossi has ended months of speculation over his future (deciding to remain with MotoGP for now), does this mean Ferrari have come to a decision regarding their future driver lineup?

According to the Scuderia, they are currenty awaiting a decision from their lead driver Michael Schumacher before announcing the 2007 squad. It was originally thought that the decision would be made by late May, but Mr Schumacher has now put off any annoucement by saying that it may not come until the end of the season. The reason behind this is quite clear – Michael Schumacher would like to end his career in a Ferrari, but in order for him to continue, he needs a good championship winning car. After the fiasco of last year, Schumacher is correctly waiting to see whether the recent upturn in pace is for real, or if it is just a temporary peak in performance. I think that once Michael has decided on the competitiveness of the Ferrari, he will announce his decision and all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place.

Even though Michael is still aparently undecided, Ferrari have been reported as saying that they are comfortable with all the options, and know what is happening with the drivers market for next year. This statement fuelled speculation that Kimi Raikkonen has already signed some kind of agreement with the Italian team, who must be looking at the future beyond Schumacher, be it 2007 or 2008…

But Kimi is holding his cards close to his chest and not giving much away. Like Michael, Kimi is willing to wait until the end the current season before announcing, but I don’t think this will please his employers, who would like to get this issue out of the way as soon as possible. Ron Dennis has already announced that McLaren are running Fernando Alonso in 2007, but the canny team boss would also like to retain Kimi for as long as he can. A Raikkonen/Alonso pairing would be good if McLaren can produce a decent enough car. However, it is the car (but mostly the engine) again that is causing anguish with the young Finn, who has been the nearly man since 2003. Ferrari could offer Kimi a better shot at the title, but as history has proven, the mighty Scuderia can be beaten.

I think Renault is an unlikely home for Kimi as they have joined the party quite late. Although the French squad are now comitted to Formula One, their chances of nabbing a super star are slim at best. Any other team just wouldn’t be worth the time for Kimi, so he really has to make the decision – Red or Silver?

The reason why Rossi may have made the whole situation clearer is because it was often mooted that he could pair up Schumacher for a couple of years before taking the helm of the Ferrari as team leader in the wake of Schumacher’s eventual retirement. But now Ferrari need to look elsewhere for a rising star, and whilst Felipe Massa isn’t doing too badly in the sister car, I fear it isn’t enough to keep his contract.

So Ferrari 2007? Schumacher and Raikkonen. McLaren are already confirmed with Alonso, and there is a lot of talk about the young Hamilton kid who has been a McLaren prodigy since he was in nappies. Or they could keep Montoya for another season, and despite his comparably poor career with the Woking team, the Colombian has won races and did drive quite well in 2004.

At the moment, it seems as though Renault are up the creek sans paddle, and although they maybe willing to throw money at the problem, I think it is an uphill battle for the reigning world champions. I’m suspecting a Fisichella and Kovalainen mix for next year.

Anyone want to throw in their two cents?

Oliver White

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