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  Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 08:26 GMT 09:26 UK
Schu hits back at Hill
Michael Schumacher speeds through the rain at Silverstone
Schumacher leads the F1 standings by 46 points

Michael Schumacher has rejected continuing rumours that he may quit Formula One at the end of the year.

The issue has come to the forefront again at the British Grand Prix after his old rival Damon Hill said in a newspaper article that he thought Schumacher would quit.

Hill, who has never had a close relationship with the German, said he thinks that Schumacher has been hurt by the reaction to his controversial victory at the Austrian race earlier this year.

Ferrari ordered number two Rubens Barrichello to concede the race to Schumacher and the two men were booed on the rostrum afterwards.


From what I see, Michael can carry on for many years
Ferrari boss
Ross Brawn

But the world champion has insisted that he intends to see out his contract with Ferrari, which runs out at the end of 2004.

He said: "Everybody knows he (Hill) is my best friend so he should know what I'm doing very well.

"But you get things like this. It's tiring to hear them all the time."

The senior management of Ferrari - technical director Ross Brawn, chief designer Rory Byrne and sporting director Jean Todt - have also extended their contracts to the end of 2004.

And sources say that Brawn and Byrne at least had guarantees that Schumacher would stay at Ferrari for that amount of time.

Brawn said: "Damon is obviously very close to Michael.

Motivation

"I cannot imagine him stopping for a while yet. He is now reaping the rewards of his investment in the team over the last few years.

"It's hard to imagine he would have any reason to stop. From what I see, Michael can carry on for many years."

The rumours about Schumacher's future have been rumbling on since the end of last year.

They have intensified after Barrichello's recent strong performances, which have led to speculation that Schumacher might be losing his motivation.

BBC Sport Online learned in January that Ferrari had enquired about the contract of Juan Pablo Montoya, the Williams driver who has established himself as Schumacher's potential greatest rival.

But it is understood that Montoya will be staying at Williams, who have a contractual option to extend his deal for another two years.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Former world champion Damon Hill
"It's evident he's under more pressure"
In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

Our man at Silverstone

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
Links to more Formula One stories are at the foot of the page.


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