Ferrari: Schumacher irreplaceable

Michael Schumacher will be an irreplaceable part of Ferrari's history despite what Kimi Raikkonen may achieve in the future, says Ferrari's vice president Piero Ferrari

The seven-time world champion retired at the end of the 2006 season after enjoying Ferrari's most successful period, and he will be replaced by Finn Raikkonen.

Ferrari believes Raikkonen will succeed with the Italian squad, but says Schumacher will not be replaced.

"Schumacher will remain irreplaceable in our history," Ferrari told Gazzetta dello Sport. "A great driver, a great man. Raikkonen is different but he is as fast. He's most of all hungry of the victories he lacks.

"I remember when we hired Jody Scheckter, a great driver who hadn't won almost anything before coming to Ferrari.

"With us he won the title at the first attempt. Let's hope Kimi does the same: I like him very much, he has great qualities. Now we'll understand if he is a great driver or an exceptional one.

"As for [Felipe] Massa, in the latter part of 2006 it was nice to watch him. He's a great professional, he'll yet improve."

The Italian also reckons the new F2007 car, unveiled yesterday at Fiorano, will be very competitive.

"I want to be optimistic: I think the F2007 can win a lot," added Ferrari. "It's also true that things are more confusing now, with Alonso at McLaren starting a series of changes. It will be an interesting championship."

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