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Todt - it won't be the same without Michael 25 Oct 2006

Race winner Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari and Jean Todt (FRA) Ferrari Sporting Director on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, 10 September 2006

After a puncture cost Michael Schumacher the chance to clinch an eighth world title in his final race on Sunday, Ferrari team boss Jean Todt revealed his sadness at Schumacher’s retirement - and his hopes for Ferrari’s future as a new era beckons.

“We have great drivers, great engineers, great mechanics, great partners and it's a chapter which is ending with the decision Michael has taken to retire from Formula One as a driver,” said Todt. “I definitely feel sad about that even if I share and understand his decision.”

Before his final Grand Prix in Brazil, Schumacher had raced with the Italian team for 11 of his 15 seasons and been widely credited with much of their revival in recent years. The fruitful partnership resulted in five championships in as many years between 2000 and 2004.

“It will definitely be different; it will never be the same without Michael, particularly for the people who have been working, like me, for so many years with him,” explained Todt. “We have been building, creating such a fantastic relationship, even if Michael will remain in the family, which will be a big asset for all the company, for all the team, but it will definitely be different.”

Next season, Ferrari’s race line-up comprises Brazilian Grand Prix winner Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, who joins after five years with McLaren. Todt hopes the pairing will enjoy a successful start to 2007, despite imminent changes over the off-season.

“We have about five months before we will start another championship, so we will do our best to start better than we did this year, because we know how important it can be to score points at the beginning of the championship,” explained the Frenchman.

The media has widely predicted that technical director Ross Brawn will take a sabbatical from Formula One racing in 2007. Todt did not comment on the rumours, but confirmed that news on revisions to the team’s internal structure would be revealed shortly.

“We have said that a few changes will be announced in the next few days for next year and we will do that,” he added.