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Schumacher may reverse retirement decision

india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 23:16 IST
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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone believes Renault would 'immediately' hire Michael Schumacher if he rescinded his decision to retire at the end of the season. Ecclestone said in a column for Sport-Bild weekly that he doesn't think the seven-time F1 champion's decision is final and that he could return to racing next year.

"I know that Renault would take him immediately. It's up to him only," Ecclestone said. "I have the feeling that he had to make a decision at a time when he really didn't want to." The 37-year-old Schumacher announced he would retire at the end of the season just moments after winning the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday. He is two points behind Renault driver and standings leader Fernando Alonso with three races remaining.

Alonso is leaving Renault at the end of the season to drive for McLaren-Mercedes, while Kimi Raikkonen is leaving McLaren to replace Schumacher at Ferrari.

Meanwhile, Schumacher's manager, Willi Weber, has demanded an apology from Alonso for calling the German the "most unsporting driver" in F1 history.

"Michael is the man with the most sanctions and the most unsporting driver in the history of Formula One," Alonso told Spanish radio station Marca on Monday.

Weber called the comments "an incredible insult" that were "completely under the belt."

"Michael will give an appropriate answer on the track," Weber told Bild newspaper.

Alonso also hinted that the championship has been fixed in favor of Schumacher.

He was penalized five places on the starting grid for blocking Ferrari's Felipe Massa in qualifying Saturday and started 10th. Alonso withdrew on Sunday when his engine failed 10 laps from the end.

"No one is going to believe the penalty I was given for a long time to come," Alonso said.

Renault director Flavio Briatore also suggested initially that the championship had been fixed for Schumacher, but later withdrew the implication, saying it was meant as a joke.

Ecclestone, in his column in Sport-Bild, said Alonso's penalty was a "farce."

"There is simply no proof that Alonso had blocked Massa," said Ecclestone, adding that Ferrari is the only team that gets "political support" from FIA, motor sports' governing body.

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