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Schumacher 'definite' for 2012
- Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher has said he will "certainly be racing next year" following rumours he was considering his future.
Reports in an Italian newspaper forced Schumacher's agent to come out and confirm his commitment to Mercedes last week, and Schumacher has now commented on his future himself. Speaking at a Mercedes event he said that he would definitely be on the grid in 2012, and that he wasn't ruling out extending his contract even further.
"I'll certainly be racing next year, that is definite," Schumacher said. "We will have to see how things develop and how much energy and fun is still there."
He later confirmed to the Mercedes website that he was enjoying the challenge of trying to turn Mercedes in to a race-winning team.
"Despite some funny rumours and stupid untruthful stories, I keep repeating myself that you will have to see me in 2012, whether you like it or don't like it. I will be there. And the good thing is that I have a lot of support from all around, in particular from the company, in particular from the team, that they all wish me to be there, so I wish to be there, and I look forward to it. I'm still fit enough. I'm still mentally ready for it. And I like a challenge."
Despite confirming himself for next season, Schumacher admitted that a title challenge was unlikely because Mercedes was still too far off the pace of the front runners.
"It would be presumptuous if one expects us to fight for the title next year. At the moment we are too far behind."
Mercedes' head of motorsport Norbert Haug also defended Schumacher, saying that he was getting closer to the level of performance of his team-mate.
"His speed in the last race was mostly on a par with Nico Rosberg," Haug said. "He will continue and succeed."
However, Haug agreed with Schumacher's outlook for the 2012 season, saying it will take longer for Mercedes to become a force at the front.
"Under normal circumstances, you do not go from fourth to first in one jump."