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Ferrari pay tribute to Schumacher at Monza 30 Oct 2006

2006 Ferrari World Finals at Monza - (L to R) Jean Todt, Michael Schumacher and Luca di Montezemolo. © Ferrari S.p.A.

Ferrari staff and a legion of fans celebrated Michael Schumacher’s Formula One career on Sunday at the conclusion of the team’s World Finals at Monza. The annual event, which traditionally marks the end of the Ferrari motorsport season, saw Schumacher take to the track in front of over 45,000 spectators.

Schumacher was joined by 2006 team mate Felipe Massa and Ferrari test drivers Luca Badoer and Marc Gene, with all four getting behind the wheel of the team’s Formula One machinery. Ferrari’s management team was also in attendance, including newly-appointed CEO Jean Todt, the soon-to-depart Ross Brawn and President Luca di Montezemolo.

“Today we are here to say, 'thank you to Michael', to say thanks for what he's done and for the way he's done it,” commented di Montezemolo, praising Schumacher’s 11 seasons with the team. “And to bow out like a champion with a race that will remain in everyone's memory at Interlagos was the best thing.

“Michael has been for us most of all an extraordinary man who, in all these years, also at difficult times, has always been close to the team, he's always helped them, and we've never had polemics, bickering: we've always felt united, strong, and in the same boat.”

Details of Schumacher’s future role with Ferrari also became slightly clearer over the weekend. The seven-time champion will continue to work closely with Todt and is expected to have an influence on many aspects of the running of the team, including future driver selection.

“He will be an indispensable interface in the process of taking decisions for the future of Ferrari's sporting arm," Todt explained to the media. “He will be very close to us while he won't have any particular obligation to be present neither in the factory nor at the races nor at private tests. And finally as he's done up to now, he will make his contribution on the definition of the road cars."

Next year, Kimi Raikkonen will replace Schumacher and race for the team alongside Felipe Massa.