Formula One champion Michael Schumacher is joining Ferrari, Damon Hill is staying put and Jacques Villeneuve is moving from Indy cars to Formula One.
Three of auto racing’s top drivers on Wednesday confirmed multi-million-dollar deals that have been in the works for weeks.
Ferrari, hoping to recapture some of its past glory, signed Schumacher - this year’s points leader in Formula One - to a record two-year package for 1996-1997.
No terms were disclosed, but news reports said the German will be the highest-paid driver in history, earning between $24 and $30 million, with an option to renew for a third year.
Unlike Schmacher, Hill got more money by simply staying put. He signed a one-year deal with Williams-Renault that will reportedly triple his annual salary to about $7 million.
Hill will team with 24-year-old Canadian Villeneuve, the Indianapolis 500 champion and current leader on the IndyCar series. Villeneuve will reportedly top the $6 million he earns in IndyCar racing.
“It was a tough decision,” Villeneuve said. “If I stayed in IndyCar that might close the door to Formula One down the road.”
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