John Howett, president of Toyota F1, has admitted that the team are considering replacing Ralf Schumacher at the end of the 2007 season. Schumacher has had a poor season so far, coming to a head in Monaco where he qualified 20th, behind the Spyker of Adrian Sutil.
Many people have speculated about Schumacher’s future in the sport, with common knowledge that his multi-million dollar contract being up at the end of the season. However, Toyota have always backed the German driver so Howett’s admission has come as a slight surprise.
Jarno Trulli will be staying with the team, his contract ending in 2008. Even if they are on the lookout, Howett has insisted that they are working with Schumacher to help him overcome his poor form. “Of course it is frustrating,” Howett said. “But to say that he is completely alone would be wrong. We must give him a better car.”
Ralf himself has great self belief and has said many times this season that he has no doubts he will still be in F1 next year. Other drivers aren’t so sure. It is rumoured that BMW team-mates Kubica and Heidfeld have been discussing Schumacher’s poor form. Heidfeld reportedly asked Kubica whether he felt Schumacher would still be on the grid next season, to which Kubica replied, “I don’t know. But the kind of money he makes at the moment will not be there for him any more.”