Schumacher to stay with Ferrari as assistant to Todt

Updated: October 29, 2006, 11:51 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

MONZA, Italy -- Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, who retired from racing last week, will stay on at Ferrari as an assistant to new chief executive Jean Todt.

"The basis of my future will be that of a super assistant to Jean," Schumacher said Sunday at the Ferrari World Finals, the racing team's traditional season-closer.

He did not elaborate on his new role, saying he needed to reflect on what he might be able to offer Ferrari.

"At the moment, I don't have a definite answer," Schumacher said. "I want to take myself away from the world of Formula One for a few months to think about my life. Then I'll have a better idea of what I can do for Ferrari."

Todt, who was appointed Ferrari chief executive on Wednesday following a stint as team principal, praised Schumacher's expertise.

"We will look to make the most of Michael's knowledge for sporting, technical and strategic choices," he said.

Schumacher walked out onto the track at Monza -- where he recorded five of his 90 Formula One victories -- to bid farewell to the thousands of fans who had gathered to see him.

After posing for photos and shaking hands with supporters, Schumacher drove about 20 laps of the track, first in Ferrari's 2006 Formula One race car and in a two-seater Ferrari FXX, with Todt in the passenger seat.

The 37-year-old German said he was looking forward to a new pace of life.

"The last few years have been very intense, and everything has always been prepared down to the most minute detail," he said. "Now maybe the time has come for me to have a different kind of life."

A few days ago, Schumacher revealed he may even consider a return to racing.

The seven-time world champion, who turns 38 in January, raced what was thought to be his final Grand Prix at Brazil on Oct. 22.

But he told Swedish journalist Fredrik af Petersens, in an interview published on www.autosport.com, that he would not rule out coming back in the future.

"Why should I?" he told the journalist. "For now, in any case, I can only answer in this way. Niki Lauda went back to racing in F1, Mika Hakkinen races in DTM, but all this happened after some time.

The Associated Press and SportsTicker contributed to this report.

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