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Schumacher signs for Ferrari

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Schumacher signs for Ferrari By Timothy Collings MICHAEL Schumacher yesterday traded his chances of winning next year's world drivers' championship for the financial security of a £39 million contract with Ferrari. The German signed a ...

Schumacher signs for Ferrari By Timothy Collings

MICHAEL Schumacher yesterday traded his chances of winning next year's world drivers' championship for the financial security of a £39 million contract with Ferrari.

The German signed a two-year deal with the Italian team, a commitment he said was an irresistible challenge. Ferrari have not won a world drivers' title since Jody Scheckter in 1979.

On a day when Benetton Renault announced - as expected - that Jean Alesi was leaving Ferrari to replace their departing world champion, and Williams Renault said Jacques Villeneuve would partner Damon Hill next season, Schumacher conceded the 1996 title to his greatest rival.

Speaking at Silverstone, where he was testing with Benetton, Schumacher said: "I don't have a problem with Damon Hill starting favourite for the 1996 championship. In fact, I don't mind if he wins it.

"All I want is a situation where I can develop with a team up to a certain standard. This is a good opportunity to work with Ferrari and in our first season we will win races and in the second year we will win the championship."

Following yesterday's announcements among the leading teams, two seats remain unfilled and two established drivers appear to hold the key. Gerhard Berger, whose relationship with Schumacher has been strained in the past, is understood to have the choice of staying at Ferrari as the German's sidekick or moving to McLaren.

David Coulthard's future at Williams is unsure. If Berger remains at Ferrari it will enhance Coulthard's prospects of a seat with McLaren.

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Reply to Electronic Telegraph - et@telegraph.co.uk Electronic Telegraph is a Registered Service Mark of The Telegraph plc

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