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Last Updated: Monday, 2 June, 2003, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Ferrari 'want Montoya'
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor

Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher on the podium in Monaco
Schumacher (right) congratulates Montoya in Monaco
Ferrari have identified Juan Pablo Montoya as the man they want to replace Michael Schumacher in 2005 if the German quits the team.

According to Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, Ferrari do not yet know whether the 34-year-old world champion wants to stay on in F1 or retire when his contract ends at the end of 2004.

Ferrari have already approached Montoya about a possible switch in the event that Schumacher does retire or - and this is extremely unlikely - he joins another team.

Gerhard Berger, motorsport director of Williams' engine supplier BMW, confirmed Ferrari's interest in Montoya but said Williams would do everything they could to hang on to him.

Montoya, whose Williams contract ends at the same time as Schumacher's, was made aware of Ferrari's renewed interest in him at the weekend.

"Someone told me to look at the Gazzetta dello Sport and see what's in it," said the Colombian, who won Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

"I had a look and I couldn't believe it. There's no talk for the moment, to be honest, there is nothing."

This is not the first time Ferrari have approached Montoya.

The BBC Sport website revealed that Ferrari also made contact with him early in 2002, also with a view to replacing Schumacher when the German left.

Is Schumacher preparing to wave goodbye to F1?
Is Schumacher preparing to wave goodbye to F1?

Although Ferrari are the strongest team in F1 at the moment, an offer to move there after Schumacher's departure is not as appealing as it first might seem.

The team has been built up around the German and the leading personnel would be expected to follow him out of the door if he left.

Ferrari would not collapse without technical director Ross Brawn, chief designer Rory Byrne and sporting director Jean Todt, but they might well be weakened.

Ferrari are also said by Gazzetta to be considering replacing Rubens Barrichello as Schumacher's team-mate for 2004, even though the Brazilian's contract has another year to run.

The report says test driver Felipe Massa could be promoted, with Barrichello switching to Sauber, who use Ferrari customer engines.

Barrichello has produced some lacklustre performances this season and could only manage eighth place at Monaco.




MONACO GRAND PRIX

MONTOYA ENDS DROUGHT

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