Schumacher Pivotal In Mercedes Driver Choice

Upon joining in 2010, Michael Schumacher was determined that his time at Mercedes was to be a three-year project, but with with an option to continue if both parties wished. Ross Brawn, principal of the team and part of the Ferrari squad with whom the German won five titles, has declared that the Silver Arrows will wait to see what he does before serious looking at any possible replacement.

Nico Rosberg is seen as the team’s leading driver, and having a signed a “multi-year deal” at the conclusion f last season, has his seat for the forseeable future. Rosberg’s team-mate is known to have a contract which runs out after this year, but Brawn says Schumacher will be given the time he needs to make a decision:

“We are focused on Michael for as long as it takes – and for whatever it takes,” explained Brawn. “Then we will see where we are elsewhere. Inevitably you come to a point where you have to say: let’s have the discussions because these things can sometimes take some time, and you have to have the discussion and you have to reach a conclusion in order to plan for the future.

Brawn and Schumi were frequent winners in their days at Ferrari

But there is no deadline or critical point where he or we have said that we must have a decision by then. It must be the right decision: that is the most important thing.”

He has been asked at various times whether he will continue, and Schumacher’s answer has always been along the lines of a “Perhaps, we’ll see” approach, but as he himself has also said, Brawn states that if he is still enjoying racing at the highest level, his retirement may be put on hold:

“We haven’t discussed it, but he enjoys himself and, if he enjoys himself, why not?”

Should the most successful driver of all-time decide that his time is up, Mercedes will have an idea of who they wish to act as replacement. Mark Webber’s door is closed following the completion of his new deal at Red Bull, but a sought-after driver who could move is Lewis Hamilton. The Englishman of Grenadian-descent has a deal which runs out after this season and even with his reported financial demands, Mercedes should not need to worry about whether they can afford him. Hamilton and Rosberg are friends and have raced together through their careers in the lower racing series’, so they would certainly know each other well. Paul Di Resta is another consideration with the Scotsman having raced for Mercedes in the German Touring Cars championship but his inexperience may be a hindrance to any plausible move.

Ross Brawn is sure that Schumacher’s decision will be final, and will have nothing rushed about it:

“It will be a mutual decision, I think when the time is appropriate we will sit down and we will go through all the considerations and come to a conclusion,” he said. “I think knowing Michael as I do, it will be a logical and sensible conclusion, driven by passion of course because he enjoys what he does.”

Will he or won’t he?

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