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Valentino Rossi will join Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2007, according to the Italian media.
La Repubblica, quoting "reliable sources", claims that Michael Schumacher will retire from racing at the end of 2006, with Kimi Raikkonen replacing him, and Valentino Rossi taking over from Felipe Massa who has a one-year deal with the Italian outfit.
The Italian newspaper claims that Rossi's contract, worth up to £54m ($98m), will run from 2007 to 2009, and will be (mostly) underwritten by Marlboro and Vodafone, even though tobacco advertising is to be totally banned.
The Italian, who looks set to add another title to his collection following his win in the Czech GP at the weekend, recently signed a one-year extension to his contract with Yamaha, scotching rumours that he might switch to four wheels in 2006.
It's known that various people within F1, particularly Bernie Ecclestone, would love to see him on-board, as his success, skill and personality have done wonders for MotoGP.
He has already tested for Ferrari, and according to reports the Italian team was mightily impressed. Ironically, it was Ferrari that achieved World Championship success with another 'convert' from 2-wheels, John Surtees in 1964.
Last week was dominated by reports, mainly from Germany, of Raikkonen and Schumacher 'swapping seats for 2007, though both drivers, and their teams vehemently denied the claims.
Rossi moving to Ferrari certainly seems plausible, and as time goes on, especially in light of comments made by Michael and his manager, Willi Weber, in recent days, there could be much more to this than meets the eye.
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