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Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is to return to Formula One next season to drive for Mercedes.
The 40-year-old German, who retired in 2006, has agreed a three-year contract with the possibility for a further extension according to his agent Sabine Kehm and will be on the grid for the curtain-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14.
Schumacher, who was unveiled at the team’s factory in Brackley, will join compatriot Nico Rosberg at the former Brawn GP team, who were taken over by Mercedes at the end of last season having won the constructors’ and drivers world championships.
“After a three-year break, I have all the energy again that I was lacking,” Schumacher told reporters via a teleconference call.
Schumacher, who won five of his world titles with Ferrari, attempted to make a comeback for the Italian team last year in place of the injured Felipe Massa, but a neck injury sustained in a motorcycle race thwarted his return…
“Over the summer it was too soon after the accident. Now everything has healed,” said Schumacher, who will have his first practice session with his new team on February 1.
“I have decided to return to Formula One. Mercedes GP and I agreed on teaming up for the coming seasons. And to be honest, I’m already super excited by the prospect to be back in a F1 cockpit,” he added on his official Web site.
“I don’t want to deny at all that the idea of a German F1 team extremely tempts me. I guess every German driver would feel this way. And of course it plays a major role that I again can work together with Ross at Mercedes GP. Above all, however, my old hunger for racing is back — I realized that my old passion was returning. Suddenly I was on fire again,” he added.
Though I always seemed to be supporting someone else – like Mika Hakkinen – a certain level of insanity is required to deny that Schumi is the greatest driver of recent generations.
To see him driving for the Silver Arrows of Mercedes – back together with Ross Brawn as team principal – is an amazing opportunity. He is one of those consummate skills who just may be capable of beating everyone else in the world, the oldest driver in every race.