Speculation linking Michael Schumacher to a shock full-time return to F1 racing has intensified this weekend, with a report in Germany's Bild newspaper saying the 40-year-old had agreed to get back behind the wheel of a Formula One racer with the new Mercedes GP team as part of a one-year deal. Rumours putting Schumacher in a seat at the former Brawn GP team have been ongoing since late-season, but stepped up a gear following world champion Jenson Button's unprecedented switch to rivals McLaren.
An attempted F1 comeback to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari following his accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix was thwarted by a neck injury, picked up during a crash at a motorbike race earlier in the year. However, any move to Mercedes GP would result in Schumacher severing all ties with Ferrari, with whom he won five consecutive world titles, adding to the two he won with Benetton in the 1990s. While Schumacher's race contract may only be for one year, the deal will reportedly make the German an ambassador for the famous Stuttgart brand.
Mercedes took a majority 75.1% shareholding of Brawn GP in November, and since then has signed former Williams driver Nico Rosberg as their race driver for 2010. However, with Nick Heidfeld the team's only other viable option following Button's departure, they are in extreme need of a race-winning driver to help them retain the titles they won in dramatic fashion this year.