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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Musical chairs, anyone?

Seven time world champion Michael Schumacher has a ride if he wants one – on two wheels.

That's the word from Honda European racing chief Carlo Fiorani.

“Michael is convinced that the German championship would suit him best at the moment,” Fiorani told Gazzetta dello Sport. “We would give him all possible support. For now he has not asked us to race in the 2009 world championship. But if he wants to, there would be a bike for him. All he has to do is ask.”
Schumacher, who competed in several low-level races last season, maintains bikes are just a hobby.

“There was nothing more for me to learn about cars. Here, it is a continual discovery and I’m really excited by this,” he said.

In fact, it seems Schumacher is content in his retirement, revealing he turned down replacing Jean Todt at Ferrari, a job that eventually went to Stefano Domenicali.

“I had a possibility to do what Jean Todt was doing, to become director of Ferrari for the racing part, Fox quotes him as saying. “And when I saw how much passion and dedication that he put into his job - similar to what I did in my job - but he simply was just sitting in Maranello, day by day, even on weekends, late into night - I said: 'Do I need this? Simply not. Simply not.'”
Meanwhile, bike champion Valentino Rossi will again be at the wheel of a Ferrari next week.

“I can’t wait. I asked for it as a reward for the title, but I’m very curious to see how the car has changed since I last drove it,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Rossi, of course, had been linked with the Scuderia in 2006, but now it looks as if rallying might be his next career.

“I like rallies a lot and so, given that I can, in winter I take the opportunity to gain experience by taking part in at least two races: this one at Monza and, if possible, one that’s valid for the World Championship,” he explained.

How serious is he?

“I think it is possible when I finish with bikes,” he is quoted by the Guardian. “I have another two years -- after that we will see.”

And from rallying we move back to… Formula 1, as rally champ Sebastien Loeb got used to Red Bull's RB4 ahead of his Barcelona test next week.

Rainy conditions at Silverstone kept Loeb from doing too much behind the wheel.

“It was a great experience for me, but without traction control in low temperature and in these conditions it was difficult so I had to react very quickly when the car went sideways,” ITV reports he said. “But I was happy with the feeling I had with the car.”
One driver who won't be swapping seats, however, is ex-Williams and McLaren driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

Toro Rosso revealed this week it pursued the NASCAR driver for 2009, but JPM turned the team down.

“Unfortunately he no longer wants to be in Formula 1,” team principal Franz Tost is quoted by German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

Montoya's Chip Ganassi Racing team announced this week it was merging with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. The Colombian's future appeared safe, however, in the planned four team operation.
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