Thoughts from abroad #1

I may be holidaying in Mexico at the moment (hence no new features!) but I’m not taking a holiday from Formula One. But as I haven’t the time to scour the news sources for some interesting or overlooked titbit, I’m going to enter the dangerous territory of prediction-making instead.

The three-week break between races has predictably sent the racing rumour mill into overdrive. Is Schumacher to retire? To go to Renault? To stay with Ferrari?

Flavio Briatore, Sepang, 2006The Renault link is an intriguing new angle, but perhaps a little predictable and cosy to be realistic. The idea of Flavio Briatore wanting to hit back at Fernando Alonso’s departure to McLaren by signing Alonso’s nemesis is a nice bit of soap opera melodrama, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Nor does retirement look any more likely for Schumacher than it did before. Indeed, with a more competitive car than last year, and a less troublesome team mate, the smart money must be on him staying at Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2006The most realistic alternative, to my mind, is that Dietrich Mateschitz will prise open his Red Bull wallet yet further to stump up some hideous amount of money to sign Schumacher. But Ferrari would almost certainly withdraw their engine supply, leaving the Red Bull ‘first team’ with perhaps Cosworth or Toyota. David Coulthard may not want to be number two to Schumacher, but that could always be solved by putting one in a ‘Bull’ and the other in a ‘Toro’.

But I still wouldn’t count on it. You heard it here first: Schumacher to Ferrari in 2007.

(Crosses his fingers and returns to the beach).

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