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Last Updated: Monday, 9 June, 2003, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Schumacher stays with Ferrari
Michael Schumacher
Schumacher has been with Ferrari since 1996
Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher has extended his contract with Ferrari until 2006.

The team's sporting director Jean Todt has also pledged his future to the team for the same length of time.

The German driver, who is searching for his sixth world title, had hinted recently that he may retire after 2004.

The rest of the team behind Schumacher's success will also stay in place until the end of 2006 - technical director Ross Brawn, engine director Paolo Martinelli, chief designer Rory Byrne and head of engine design Gilles Simon.

We have exciting years ahead of us and I'm looking forward to the challenges to come
Michael Schumacher

"I love my sport and I feel extremely comfortable with Ferrari," said Schumacher.

"Everything spoke in favour of extending my contract to 2006. The fact that Jean Todt and the rest of the team leaders have also decided to stay until 2006 made my own decision even easier.

"To be able to work in such a team, with such good friends, and hopefully with a lot more success to come, is a great pleasure.

"We have exciting years ahead of us and I'm looking forward to the challenges to come.

"Ferrari has become something of a second family to me and I am proud of being able to remain in such wonderful company."

Frenchman Todt has been at the helm of Ferrari throughout their recent run of success which includes the past four constructors' titles.

Schumacher, the most successful driver in Ferrari's history, is four points behind McLaren's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen in this season's championship.

The 34-year-old joined Ferrari in 1996 after a successful spell with Benetton-Ford which saw him win his first two titles.

He has been world champion for three consecutive seasons.

Jordan

In other F1 news, Vodafone have dismissed as 'wholly without merit' a legal action brought by the Jordan team in a row over Formula One sponsorship.

Neither Jordan nor Vodafone would comment on the details of a Sunday newspaper report that Jordan was seeking 150m in damages from the mobile phone company.

The Sunday Times reported that Jordan were claiming Vodafone had agreed to sponsor the team but instead signed a deal worth an estimated 110m with Ferrari.

"Vodafone Group Plc confirms that proceedings are being brought by Jordan Grand Prix Limited," Vodafone said in a statement.

"The claim concerns discussions which Vodafone had with Jordan and other grand prix teams about potential sponsorship early in 2001.

"Vodafone believes and has been advised by leading counsel that the claim is wholly without merit and on that basis Vodafone is vigorously defending its position."

Vodafone currently sponsor world champions Ferrari.




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