Weber calls for new Williams deal for Ralf

Ralf Schumacher's manager, Willi Weber, has moved to dampen speculation about the German's future at BMW WilliamsF1, saying that the younger brother of world champion Michael should remain with the team until the end of 2006

Weber calls for new Williams deal for Ralf

Rumours have suggested that Schumacher would be replaced at Williams when his contract expires at the end of 2004. Brazilian Grand Prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella has been linked to the drive while Ralf has been connected to a berth at Toyota, but Weber has denied approaching any other teams.

"Ralf should stay where he is and sign for BMW Williams for another two years," Weber told German news agency SID.

The manager also denied that he had approached other teams about a drive for the German. "Of course you have to consider several options but I never negotiated with Mercedes or Toyota because I believe Williams is the best team there is for him," he added.

Weber also commented about Michael Schumacher's new contract with Ferrari, which runs until the end of 2006. He revealed that Schumacher is not receiving a pay-rise in the new deal, but also believes that Schumacher is now certain to retire at the end of 2006.

"At the end of 2006 Formula 1 will be over for him," said Weber. "At least that's what I expect. In January 2007 he will be 38. Then he will be able to say quietly: 'That was it for me in Formula 1.'

"The conditions are the same as for the current contract. He didn't get a pay rise and he didn't get a pay cut. There is no clause allowing him to get out. Sport was the important factor for Michael, not money."

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