Schumacher signs with Mercedes UPDATE #15 Mercedes GP were tonight silent amid claims Michael Schumacher is to make a famous return to Formula One for next season. No official word was forthcoming from the team in the wake of a report that stated the seven-times world champion had today signed a one-year deal worth an estimated £6.25million. Schumacher's spokeswoman, Sabine Kehm, also refused to confirm the news being run first on AutoRacing1.com (days ago) and now on German online newspaper website, bild.de and also the BBC.
12/22/09 As we already reported - Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher has signed a one-year deal (with additional option years) to return to Formula One racing with Mercedes GP for the 2010 season, Bild.de reported on Tuesday evening.
|He's back. The combination of the greatest driver to ever live, Ross Brawn's design genius and Mercedes power, has to be enough to send shivers down the spines of everyone else on the F1 grid.|
12/22/09 Look for the announcement that Michael Schumacher will drive for the Mercedes Petronas GP (ex-Brawn GP) team today. Of course AR1.com readers already knew this rumor was 'fact' before anyone else.
12/18/09 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. In an AutoRacing1.com exclusive we can report that Michael Schumacher has signed with the Mercedes/Brawn team and will lead the team. Nico Rosberg as the 2nd driver makes it an all-German team with a German engine.
12/14/09 Grand Prix legend Michael Schumacher has said "yes" to a Formula One comeback. The 40-year-old has finally been persuaded to come to the rescue of car giant Mercedes, who gave him his Grand Prix break 19 years ago.
Mercedes came up with £125,000 to hand Schumacher, then an unknown, his F1 debut for Jordan at Spa in 1991. Next season, he will fill the seat vacated by world champion Jenson Button's McLaren switch, as revealed by Mirror Sport. And contrary to reports that the sport's most successful racer would be earning just £6million, the German will actually rake in the biggest salary in F1 next season, totaling nearly £20m. Yet, even at that price he faces a cut from his £30m price-tag during his days at Ferrari.
It means that having initially refused to meet Button's demands for a minor pay hike, Mercedes are having to pay twice as much for this admittedly quality replacement. But they are more than happy to do so when the name involved is Schumacher. Mirror.co.uk
Schumacher did not want to give anything away this past weekend when questioned at a karting event he was participating in about his possible return, but Germany's BILD has all the details of the secret comeback plan.
The 40-year-old will undergo a complete medical check. His physician Dr. Johannes Peil from the Bad Nauheim Sport Clinic has directed intensive treatment in the last four months for bad head and neck injuries suffered in a motorbike crash last February.
They had already scuppered Schumi’s planned temporary comeback with Ferrari last year, but everything is said to have recovered now: “He is fit and healthy,” his manager Willi Weber said.
Official testing begins in February in Spain, before which it is forbidden to drive the new cars.
Mercedes are keen for Schumi to get back behind the wheel before then, and could arrange a special test in an older racer.
In January, then, the cars will become available – and Michael is set to be joined by his new teammate Nico Rosberg (24).
He is likewise being cared for by the Bad Nauheim Sport Clinic in a program which will include a conditioning training camp in the mountains.
And Mercedes would like to present their new all-German F1 line-up at Daimler headquarters in Stuttgart.
Official testing starts in February at Jerez, Valencia and Barcelona, with the first race in Bahrain on March 14. Bild.de12/12/09 As first rumored here on AR1.com, with the exception of an actual signature on the dotted line, Michael Schumacher has reportedly agreed to return to F1 with Mercedes in 2010.
The news magazine Focus as well as the major German daily Bild revealed on Saturday that the 40-year-old, who retired as a Ferrari race driver in 2006, will be Nico Rosberg's teammate.
Bild said a one-year deal has been agreed verbally, and talks about withdrawing from his new consulting contract with Ferrari have been positive.
Focus, whose report was made available ahead of publication on Monday, said whether Schumacher actually signs the contract also depends on the go-ahead of doctors.
A source told Bild: "The signature is just a formality. Schumacher feels fit and healthy. The latest (medical) tests were entirely positive.
"He can't wait for the return and working with Ross Brawn again."
An announcement could be made as early as next week, and Focus said the deal is for 3.5m euros -- about a tenth of Schumacher's retainer when he hung up his helmet with Ferrari.
A longer-term objective is for the German to be an ambassador for the Mercedes brand, the magazine added.
The seven time world champion's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm told DPA news agency she did not want to comment, and his manager Willi Weber told SID that he was "as in the dark as the press".
"I don't know anything about it," Weber added. "I have not spoken with Mercedes, nor do I have any meetings with them." zzzz12/06/09 Bernie Ecclestone has heated up the debate about Michael Schumacher making a comeback at the wheel of one of Ross Brawn’s Mercedes F1 cars next season with some enigmatic comments in the Times tonight. The 79 year old said it would be “magic”, if Schumacher returned and suggested that this was beginning to gather some momentum.
“I would personally doubt that he’s going to make a comeback but, having said that, it’s maybe getting a bit stronger than a rumor,” he said. Of the possible contenders for the seat, which may well include Robert Kubica when Renault disposes of its team, he said that choosing Schumacher would be a “no brainer”
“Well you’d have to pick Michael wouldn’t you,” he said. “There’s no discussion about that. It’s the obvious thing. Whether or not this is going to happen, I don’t know. If I was Michael I wouldn’t do it, but I’m sure he knows he could get the job done.”
The fact that this is still going on, with no denials from either Mercedes or Schumacher, indicates that they are looking at it from every angle.
11/29/09 We are upgrading this rumor to 'strong' today based on numerous rumors/reports. Michael Schumacher says he has fully healed from his neck injury and indicated that he has not ruled out a return to Formula One next season. Schumacher made the comments in Brazil, where he competed in a charity karting race hosted by former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa. When asked by local reporters whether he would be back in F1 in 2010, the German told the Terra website and other media: "Who knows?" Schumacher said Sunday he has recovered from the neck injury that kept him from attempting a temporary comeback with Ferrari earlier this year. CBS Sports
11/26/09 (GMM) Reports linking Michael Schumacher with Mercedes GP persist, but questions remain as to the substance behind the rumors.
Team chiefs Nick Fry and Norbert Haug intensified the speculation recently by failing to rule out the possibility of a deal with the retired seven time world champion, and 40-year-old Schumacher's manager Willi Weber has also been fanning the flames.
Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn, however, has twice played down the likelihood of a 2010 race seat for the German, and now sources report that no moves are afoot to clear the path for a contract.
The Times newspaper said Ferrari, with a new three-year consultancy contract with Schumacher, "have received no indication from him that he may consider racing for a rival team".
The newspaper added that Schumacher has similarly "not been in contact to discuss his future with (team boss) Stefano Domenicali".
"Sources made it clear that the Scuderia would not stand in Schumacher's way should he decide to drive for Mercedes. That prospect, however, is regarded as highly remote," said the Times.
It is rumored that Mercedes and the Schumacher camp may have perpetuated the rumors due to their positive PR qualities. 11/23/09 Michael Schumacher's manager Willi Weber has revealed the German has spoken with the Mercedes GP bosses about a possible drive for next season. Following Jenson Button's departure to McLaren, Mercedes, the new owners of the Championship-winning Brawn GP outfit, have found themselves a driver short for 2010.
With Nico Rosberg having been confirmed in a seat, rumors suggest Mercedes are looking for an all-German line-up - which could mean a return for the 41-year-old Schumacher.
Mercedes have downplayed the reports, saying "some speculations are nothing but dreams which will not come true," however, the German car manufacturer did not actually say 'no'. Now Schumacher's long-time manager Weber has weighed in, revealing that Schumacher has spoke with officials from the Mercedes GP team.
"I know that Michael spoke with Dieter Zetsche [CEO of Daimler AG] and Norbert Haug at the season's finale in Abu Dhabi," he told The Guardian.11/23/09 (GMM) Ross Brawn has shot down intensifying speculation that Michael Schumacher is set to return to formula one in 2010.
Brawn, who was Ferrari's technical director throughout Schumacher's ultra-successful career with the Italian team, is now boss of Mercedes GP.
Rumors linking Schumacher with the recently renamed team continued to grow over the weekend, when his manager Willi Weber confirmed a meeting in Abu Dhabi three weeks ago between the 40-year-old, Brawn and Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche.
But when asked about the speculation by Germany's Bild, Brawn replied: "There's nothing to it except a dream of the media.
"Michael would have come back temporarily for Ferrari, but he doesn't want to start a new career," said the Briton.
Schumacher's manager Weber said the German "often" speaks with Brawn, but added that the seven time world champion "has not said anything to me personally about contact with Mercedes over a driver's contract".
According to the Times, his official spokeswoman Sabine Kehm added: "I still think it is unlikely, but you never know." 11/22/09 Former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher met with Mercedes bosses amid speculation the driver may come out of retirement to join the new F1 team.
“I know that Michael spoke with Dieter Zetsche and Norbert Haug at the season’s finale in Abu Dhabi,” Willi Weber, Schumacher’s manager said on Sunday.
Zetsche is the CEO of Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, and Haug is vice-president of motor sport at Mercedes.
Mercedes has taken a majority stake of Brawn GP — which won the Formula One championship this year — and will race under its own name in 2010.
The new team has not announced its driver lineup for next season, but has retained Ross Brawn as its chief. He was closely linked to Schumacher’s success at Ferrari.11/21/09 Eddie Jordan said: "I believe the Brawn team will have Michael Schumacher in it next year.
"At Abu Dhabi grand prix, Dr [Dieter] Zetsche [chairman of the Daimler board], Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher were deep in conversation and I believe it was to do with possibly joining the team as driver for the 2010 championship."
He told the BBC "the possibility is being actively pursued and I believe it is going to happen….” Jordan, a former team owner, pointed out that it was Mercedes who first financed Schumacher’s F1 career, getting him a spot on the Jordan team for his first race at Spa.
He argued Schumacher would make a spectacular return to Formula One in a one year deal, re-pairing the famous Brawn – Schumacher duo which dominated the sport in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
11/20/09 The Associated Press Published on Friday, Nov. 20, 2009 11:52AM EST Last updated on Friday, Nov. 20, 2009 11:53AM EST
A Formula One comeback by seven-time champion Michael Schumacher is “highly unlikely,” the German driver's spokesman said Friday.
An article Friday in London's Daily Telegraph speculated the 40-year-old Schumacher could be tempted to come out of retirement to drive for Mercedes GP, the new team formed by Mercedes-Benz after it bought a majority stake in Brawn GP, last season's F1 champion team.
“You can never say never in this sport, but to me, (a comeback) is highly unlikely at the moment,” Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said.
Schumacher, who retired in 2006, called off a temporary comeback earlier this year for Ferrari because of a persistent neck injury.
If he signed with Mercedes, Schumacher would be reuniting with Ross Brawn, the team chief who helped produce his winning seasons with Benetton and Ferrari. Schumacher also came through Mercedes' young drivers development program.
Schumacher prepared to step in for the injured Felipe Massa earlier this year but abandoned that comeback attempt on the advice of doctors because of a neck injury suffered in a motorcycle crash. Globe and Mail
Ed Note: This is exactly what they said before it was revealed that he was indeed going to drive for Ferrari...so we aren't buying it. Especially since we have first hand indications from one of his personal sponsors that they expect him to drive next year.
11/20/09 (GMM) Even in the wake of his spokeswoman's denial earlier this week, speculation that Michael Schumacher might return to formula one in 2010 has only intensified.
It is rumored that the 40-year-old is the target of Mercedes GP, in the wake of new world champion Jenson Button's defection to McLaren.
Initial rumors were played down by Schumacher's press aide Sabine Kehm, but now the authoritative Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting the possibility.
German Schumacher's link with Mercedes dates back to his pre-formula one days in world sportscars, but he recently signed a new consultancy contract through 2012 with Ferrari.
La Gazzetta conceded that Ferrari has not received a request from Mercedes for a contract release.
"The last time I spoke with Michael, I did not get the impression that he wants to make a comeback on a long-term basis," Brawn is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm told the SID news agency: "Michael enjoys his life. A return to formula one is currently not a topic."
And a Mercedes spokesman in Stuttgart added: "It is clear there is always speculation when a seat in formula one is not filled.
"And some (of that speculation) are dreams that do not come true," he added.11/18/09 Seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher could make a shock return to the sport in 2010 as a driver for the new Mercedes Grand Prix team run by Ross brawn who brought him so many world title at Benetton and Ferrari.
Mercedes this week bought a 75 per cent stake in the Brawn GP team that won this year's constructors' championship with the German car maker's engines, and the company is openly seeking at least one German racing driver for the rebranded outfit.
Nico Rosberg, Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock have all been linked with the two seats available, though Mercedes has always rued never having a chance to run Schumacher in the McLaren F1 cars it has powered with much success since 1995.
Schumacher retired from F1 in 2006 but was on the verge of temporarily replacing the injured Felipe Massa in a Ferrari last season, only to be forced to reluctantly abandon the plan due to fitness issues regarding his neck. zzzz
The 40-year-old has retained a role with Ferrari since retiring, though it has been reported the Italian marque no longer wants Schumacher as an advisor to its F1 team and instead wants him to only continue helping to develop its road cars.
In response to the speculation, Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm told Britain's Autocar that "You never say never in this sport".
Schumacher would be expected to sever his close ties with Ferrari if he were to move to Mercedes, the car maker he drove for in sports cars before making his F1 break in 1991 with the Jordan F1 team. We have updated our 2010 F1 Silly Season page above.