Apr.23 (GMM) Ralf Schumacher and his manager have responded with defiance to speculation that the German driver could be out of Toyota and formula one at the end of 2007.
The 31-year-old has struggled to keep up with his teammate Jarno Trulli in the opening races of 2007, sparking gossip that the highly-paid winner of six grands prix will be left with precious few options to stay on the grid beyond this season.
"I can live with criticism but I'm not interested in irrelevant comments," Ralf replied. "There is no way it is going to make me nervous."
His manager Hans Mahr added: "If so-called experts who weren't even at the track assess the situation from a distance, they just lose credibility."
Mahr suggested that some of the criticism is motivated by an "agenda" to "confuse things" as negotiations about a new contract for Ralf prepare to begin.
"We agreed with Toyota quite some time ago that we would get together to talk about a (contract) extension towards the middle of the year. And we are sticking to this schedule," he insisted.
Mahr said: "There is no need to worry about his future. If Ralf wants to drive, there will always be a cockpit waiting for him."
Schumacher himself suggested that the difficult TF107 single seater is at least partly to blame for the situation.
Referring to his critics, Ralf said: "I will answer on the track as soon as the car is competitive again."
Written: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 08:20:45
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