Schumacher to stay in 2013 and 2014 UPDATE #2
Team boss Ross Brawn has denied reports that Michael Schumacher has been offered a new two-year deal to stay with Mercedes.
"There's nothing on the table like that at the moment but we're open minded,” he told Sky Sports. “We don't have other plans for drivers.
"We'll see what happens this year then talk about it. I hope it goes well because that means we'll be having good results and I think we'd both be happy to continue."02/22/12 (GMM) Mercedes is eyeing a new two-year contract extension for Michael Schumacher, according to the major German newspaper Bild.
The seven time world champion, having returned to F1 with the famous German marque in 2010, has not decided whether or not to continue his comeback beyond this season.
"Bild knows that Mercedes wants to keep him," said the newspaper, after the Brackley based team's new W03 car was launched in Barcelona.
The report said Mercedes has decided to offer Schumacher, 43, a new two-year deal through 2014.
"Before we talk to any other candidate, our first contact will definitely be Michael," confirmed team boss Ross Brawn.
Schumacher commented: "I'll decide when the time is right."
02/21/12 (GMM) Mercedes on Tuesday gave the strongest hint yet that Michael Schumacher is set to stay with the Brackley based team beyond 2012.
The seven time world champion returned from retirement with the German team in 2010, and has been widely criticized for failing to live up to the hype of his meteoric initial career.
But 2011 was undoubtedly a better season for the 43-year-old, moving team boss Ross Brawn to hint that Schumacher could receive a new deal for 2013.
"At the moment we aren't talking to any other drivers," he told Sport Bild magazine.
"I am also assuming that he is not talking to other teams.
"So if Michael is still enjoying what he's doing while bringing in the results that we expect, then why not? He definitely has not said that he is toying with the idea of stopping," added Brawn.
Mercedes' competition director Norbert Haug added that the great German is "still one of the best race drivers in the field".
Haug said Schumacher is often as fast or faster than his younger teammate Nico Rosberg, which is impressive "because Nico is undoubtedly among the five best drivers in F1", he is quoted by FAZ newspaper.
Added Brawn: "It took a little longer than planned for Michael to be where he wanted to be -- and even longer than I would have thought.
"The first year was difficult," admitted Schumacher's former Ferrari colleague. "I think he did an excellent job in the races in the second year, while Nico was slightly better than him in qualifying.
"I think that really frustrated him (Schumacher)," added Brawn.