He may have been denied the chance to climb back aboard one of the scarlet cars at the European Grand Prix, but Michael Schumacher has committed his immediate future to Ferrari by inking a three-year extension to his current consultancy role.
The seven-time F1 world champion has held the position of 'special advisor' to the Scuderia since retiring from racing in 2006 and, despite rumours to the contrary, insists that he was delighted to extend his relationship with the Maranello concern.
“Yesterday, chairman [Luca di] Montezemolo and me [sic
] agreed in extending our co-operation for another three years,” Schumacher confirmed on his personal website, "I am very happy about this as I always liked to be part of the Ferrari family and as the name Ferrari also, for me, symbolises passion, quality and highest sportiness.
"We agreed that I will give my input more and more into the GT department, and the area of road cars. I [have] already enjoyed participating in the development of the Ferrari California, the 430 Scuderia and the new 458 Italia, which we will present next Tuesday on the Frankfurt Motorshow, and I very much look forward to participating in future projects."
Schumacher had attempted to return to the F1 arena in place of the injured Felipe Massa at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, but was prevented from doing so by a neck injury sustained in a motorcycle accident at the start of the year. Neither Schumacher or manager Willi Weber has ruled out the possibility of returning later in 2009 - although Ferrari has since signed Giancarlo Fisichella to see out the campaign - and the rumour mill continues to hint at a comeback should teams be allowed to run three cars in 2010.