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APRIL 13, 2001

Schumacher looking for replacement

WORLD CHAMPION Michael Schumacher believes Formula One needs to find someone to fill Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone's boots, but must not rush into any decision on his replacement.

"Bernie has been the right person for Formula One and I think he will be around for quite a long while yet," said Schumacher.

"I think he will continue to do things, but we must start to think about who can replace him."

Ecclestone has admitted he is coming to the end of his career, and has set a five-year plan to continue running Formula One.

But questions hang over whether the series will continue in its current form for that long after the European car manufacturers involved in the sport threatened to set up a rival championship.

Schumacher believes that threat is a serious one, but said the manufacturers must heed a warning from American Indycar racing, which split into ChampCars and the Indy Racing League in the mid-1990's.

"It happened there and it did not make the situation easier," said Schumacher of IndyCar. "Actually, it made it more complicated.

"But we are at a different level so I don't know. It would be the first experience ever in Formula One if this was the case.

"We have to find out and we have to see if it works. For me, Formula One is doing well and there is not a real need to make a big change."