Ralf Schumacher has claimed that he wants to get the 2007 Formula One season done and dusted before revealing his chances of staying in the top flight next year.

The German has endured a tough campaign with Toyota, but survived mid-season rumours that he could be axed after the trans-Atlantic races in Montreal and Indianapolis. Schumacher has yet to better sixth place in a race this year, a problem compounded by the number of times that he has failed to make it through the first round of qualifying.

Although his manager repeatedly claimed that the six-time race winner was still talking with Toyota for 2008 and beyond, Schumacher's latest comments tend to suggest that the two parties would be going their separate ways next year.

"To call it a tough year is a very nice description of it," he told Reuters in the build-up to this weekend's 'home' race for Toyota at Fuji, "I just want to finish off the season. It's true I have been talking to other teams, [but] I won't be more specific than that. Right now, I want to get the last few races over with."

The sight of Felipe Massa visiting the Toyota motorhome at Spa lends credence to suggestions that there will be changes at the Cologne-based team next season, and Schumacher does little to hide his disappointment at how his time there has turned out.

"When I joined Toyota, I knew it was a very big task, but it has not developed the way we expected," he said, "To be honest, things just haven't happened. We expected points and podiums, but we didn't make it."

The level playing field of Fuji has injected new hope into the squad as it enters the final three rounds of the year, and Schumacher remains confident that he will find an alternative employer in 2008.

"The expectations are high again," he said of the weekend, "We just have to hope for a good weekend. I've been in the sport a long time and people know me. I'm still pretty good at it, so [moving on is] not a problem. I'm very confident. It won't be too difficult."

 

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