News has emerged in the past 24 hours that Michael Schumacher, 7 times F1 world champion, has agreed a one-year deal to drive for Mercedes F1 (formerly Brawn GP) for the 2010 season.
According to Germany’s Bild magazine, Schumacher will sign a one-year contract with the team later next week – he has managed to withdraw from his consulting contract with Ferrari which was supposed to see him focus on developing Ferrari’s road cars during the next 3 years.
Michael has reportedly agreed a 3.5 million Euro deal with the team, representing only a fraction of what he used to make when he drove for Ferrari, but after the 2010 season he will reportedly become long-term ambassador for the Stuttgart based Mercedes-Benz company. It’s a deal which Bild magazine describes as ‘one of the greatest comebacks in sport’, coincidentally in the same week as Tiger Woods takes one of the biggest falls in sport.
The only remaining obstacle is successfully completing the mandatory FIA medical examination, which prevented his return to the cockpit in 2009 after a motorcycling-related neck injury stopped him substituting for former Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa earlier this year.
The 7-time World Champion is set to partner the talented driver Nico Rosberg, and rekindle his successful relationship with team principal Ross Brawn, when he joins the team.
It’s not the first time the German ace has driven for Mercedes though – he joined Mercedes’ junior racing programme in the World Sports-Prototype Championship together with rivals Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger – driving the Sauber-Mercedes C11 he finished 5th in the 1990 drivers’ championship and 9th in the 1991 drivers’ championship, before entering Formula 1 that same year with the Jordan-Ford team.
Whilst official spokesperson Sabine Kehm and his manager Willi Weber refused to comment on the news, a source close to Schumacher’s management team said, “The signature is just a formality. Michael feels fit and healthy. The latest (medical) tests were entirely positive. He can’t wait for the return and working with Ross Brawn again”.
We will have to wait a few more days before the deal is officially confirmed.