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Schumacher return 'looks like it will happen' - Ecclestone

ESPNF1 Staff
December 17, 2009 « Substitute drivers allowed to test in 2010 | »

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes Michael Schumacher will make a comeback to race at Mercedes next year.

The past month has seen growing speculation that Schumacher will join the German team in 2010. On Tuesday, Mercedes CEO Nick Fry dropped a hint that Schumacher would drive for the team next year but no official announcement has been made by either the team or driver.

Now Ecclestone has added his opinion to the ongoing saga, suggesting Schumacher has signed a contract with Mercedes. When asked by The Times if Robert Kubica might leave the newly-purchased Renault team in order to drive for Mercedes, he said: "Well, they've got Michael haven't they? They won't want Michael and Kubica."

He added: "I'd be surprised if he [Schumacher] is not driving for them but I don't know if that's fact. It looks like it's going to happen."

Schumacher had planned to make a comeback with Ferrari last season to replace the injured Felipe Massa - who fractured his skull during qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix. However, Schumacher's return was scrapped after a medical examination revealed that a neck injury, sustained in a motorbike testing crash, had not fully healed.

On Tuesday, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said Schumacher was free to leave his consultancy position at the Italian team and drive for Mercedes. German newspaper Bild then reported that a deal had been signed in principle, with just a medical examination standing between Schumacher and a race drive in 2010.

The latest reports from Bild say Schumacher will test a GP2 car in Abu Dhabi before the end of the year. However, Daimler Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche has told the same paper that a deal would not be announced until 2010.