It’s official, Michael Schumacher is joining Mercedes GP. According to a report in The Telegraph, the German ace has signed a three-year contract, worth 7 million euros per year.
Said Schumacher of the deal, “The motivation is pretty straightforward. I got a call from Ross at the beginning of November asking me to race again, telling me Mercedes were going to be involved. I’ve never left the race track, and after three years I regained the energy I’m feeling now. After playing around on motorbikes, I’m ready for the serious stuff.”
Schumacher is confident that his neck injury, which was sustained in a motorcycle crash, has completely healed. “Before giving the final okay, I had to make sure my neck was okay,” he said. “It wasn’t okay in the summer, but it has had the time to heal completely. It’s 100 per cent.”
He went on to say that his decision to leave the Ferrari “family” was not an easy one: “This has not been an easy step. I have lots of friends at Ferrari. But it’s possible to work once again with Ross and I’m happy to be able to give something back from the early days.”
Although Schumacher’s comeback has been rumored for several weeks, there are two surprising elements to the announcement. First, he has Schmacher has committed to a three-year contract, rather than just a one-year deal, as originally rumored. There had been talk that Schumacher’s comeback might be an interim arrangement to fill a gap until the team could secure the services of Sebastian Vettel. However, the three-year arrangement makes it clear that this will be a serious extension of Schumacher’s career.
Secondly, it was not Schumacher who approached Brawn about the drive, as rumored previously, but Brawn who made the call to Schumacher. And the call was made in the beginning of November, before Button had actually jumped ship to move to McLaren. If Ross Brawn had already opened discreet negotiations with Schumacher, that would certainly explain why he might have been dragging his feet about securing a deal with Button.
See the video below for an interview with Schumacher.