Thursday April 5th, 2001
Michael Schumacher will have retired by the time a proposed rival to the Formula One series comes into being, the world champion said on Thursday.
European carmakers - including the Fiat group which owns Schumacher's Ferrari team - have said they plan to set up an alternative championship to Formula One.
Their aim is to wrench control of the rights to broadcast the sport away from German media group Kirch and its partner EM.TV, who they fear want to sell the rights to pay-per-view television channels.
But Schumacher, three times world champion, said he would have stopped racing by the time it ever gets off the ground.
"When would it start, in six year's time?," the German asked reporters after a test session at the Fiorano circuit in central Italy.
"I don't think I'll be on the circuit by then."
Schumacher said he shared the concerns of Fiat and other manufacturers that Kirch and EM.TV - which own a 75 percent stake in commercial and broadcast rights group SLEC - might restrict television viewing of the sport to those who can afford to pay.
"I'm convinced that Formula One should be a patrimony for everyone and that everyone should be able to see it," he said.