Wednesday February 7th, 2001
Ferrari have received the perfect fillip ahead of their defence of the drivers' and constructors' championships with the news that influential backroom staff Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli have signed to stay with the team until 2004.
As it was reported a week ago in Atlas F1's The Daily Grapevine Sporting director Todt, technical director Brawn, chief designer Byrne and director of the engine department Martinelli will all stay with the team for a further three years beyond their current deal which expired at the end of the new season.
The revelation has scotched rumours that many key staff would be leaving the team. Todt was rumoured to be moving to Renault for next year, while Ross Brawn had been linked with Jaguar.
It also confirms that the successful combination of Brawn and Byrne, who have been together since their days with world champion Michael Schumacher at Benetton, will continue.
The news will boost Schumacher, who had indicated he would only stay with the team if Todt and Brawn also re-signed.
Schumacher celebrated the news as he was given the key to the city of Modena on Tuesday, receiving the honour in the presence of Piero Ferrari, son of the team's founder Enzo.