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F1 NEWS 

Schumacher 'not afraid' of Raikkonen

Michael Schumacher's manager Willi Weber says the seven-time world champion's decision to remain at Ferrari will not be influenced by Kimi Raikkonen's possible presence at the team.

Speculation continues to suggest that Raikkonen's deal to join Ferrari in 2007 has already been agreed, and that Schumacher may feel it too big a risk to go up against a top-line teammate on equal terms for the first time in his Formula One career.

But Weber has insisted that Schumacher has no fears about racing in the same team as Raikkonen.

"Schumacher isn't scared of anyone because he's a great fighter and he is still the strongest," Weber was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The first thing for a driver is to be faster than his teammate: Michael has always been that. Since he isn't afraid of anyone, I don't see why he shouldn't eventually accept the presence of Raikkonen next to him. But this is all theoretical."

Weber has said that he believes Schumacher will push for a two-year contract extension if he decides he wants to continue - and claims that a title success in 2007 will not make any difference to his future plans.

"Michael doesn't live by set schemes. He could go on or quit regardless of results," he explained.

Should Schumacher decide to hang up his helmet this season, Weber has said he would remain involved in the management of the German's post-F1 career which could include a possible advisory role in motor racing.

"For years we've been talking about a future together after F1. Michael, after seven world titles, has still plenty of things to do thanks to his worldwide popularity. There are sponsors willing to follow him beyond his competitive career. And there are new partners who would come in for other operations once everything is sorted."

When asked whether there was a chance that Schumacher would remain involved in motor racing, Weber said: "Of course. Cars are his life and will continue to be that. I don't think Michael will ever manage a team or become a TV commentator, but I can see him in the role of advisor for someone."

And talking about the possibility of Schumacher doing a rally with Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt, Weber explained: "I'm sure Michael will always enjoy sitting in a racing car in front, perhaps, of an African track, but he'll do it for pure enjoyment, not for the competitive spirit. The professional role will stop once he quits F1."

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