Schumacher has 'Open Doors' at Ferrari

Ferrari have told Michael Schumacher he can discuss extending his contract with the Formula One team any time he wants

Schumacher has 'Open Doors' at Ferrari

The seven-times World Champion, whose deal expires at the end of next year, said on Thursday that he had talked to Ferrari boss Jean Todt informally about the future but was under no pressure to make a decision.

"I have had a private chat, I am not in discussions. It is quite open to me about when and (for) what time I want to extend my contract," the 36-year-old German told a San Marino Grand Prix news conference.

"I think I have the best situation I can live in," he added. "I have open doors, any time I want to take a decision I'm welcome to do so and the team supports that."

The German, despite his worst start to a season, said he still loved the sport. He has said in the past that he will end his career with Ferrari.

"But I don't see any reason to fix myself too early," he added. "They leave it open to me."

The Gazzetta dello Sport earlier quoted Schumacher, asked in an interview about other drivers who might take his place, as saying Todt was talking to him about an extension.

Schumacher, the most successful driver in the history of the sport, said Spaniard Fernando Alonso, Renault's championship leader, would be a good choice as eventual replacement.

"I consider him, (McLaren's Kimi) Raikkonen, (Sauber's Felipe) Massa and (Williams' Mark) Webber to be very good drivers," he said.

Schumacher is the oldest driver on the starting grid and will be almost 38 when his contract expires. At the launch of the new Ferrari in February, however, he suggested he could keep on racing until he is 40.

Some have suggested he may quit if Ferrari's long run of dominance comes to an end and younger rivals start to beat him on a regular basis. Todt and other key Ferrari bosses such as technical director Ross Brawn also have contracts expiring at the end of 2006.

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