Mercedes 'the only option', says Schuey

Michael Schumacher has insisted Mercedes were his only option for a return to Formula One.

Schumacher yesterday signed a three-year contract with Mercedes GP, ending three years in retirement.

The seven-times world champion had no intention of returning to F1 until Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo urged him to replace the injured Felipe Massa following his horror smash in Hungary in July.

Schumacher was again bitten by the bug, and after di Montezemolo’s plan to run three cars for next year soon fell by the wayside, there was just one choice open to Schumacher.

After Mercedes took over Brawn GP, and then Jenson Button departed for McLaren, there was only going to be one answer when close friend Ross Brawn came calling.

“There were no other teams seriously considered,” said Schumacher, who will celebrate his 41st birthday in 10 days’ time.

“The only reason I seriously thought about a return is because of the old friends (Brawn and Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug) that have asked me.

“With the combination of Ross and Mercedes, it is now possible to work together. I’m happy to give something back to Mercedes after they gave me something in the early days.

“With Mercedes, where I started my career, and with Ross, it was the only combination able to trigger this (his comeback).

“There was no other combination I felt I wanted to work for and work with.

“Ross is a long-term friend. He knows me in detail, as I know him. We’ve won races we shouldn’t have, had tough times, good times, but in the end we have managed to finish with a positive attitude.”

It was Brawn who was the mastermind behind Schumacher’s seven world titles, initially at Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and then from 2000 to 2004 with Ferrari.

Brawn is convinced, simply because he trusts Schumacher’s word, his protege still has what it takes to succeed at the highest level.

“I asked Michael that question, and he is the best judge of what he can do, and I trust him implicitly,” added Brawn.

“He’s told me he can do it, so I’m very confident. He’s always been his own best critic, he knows what he’s capable of.

“I’m very comfortable, very confident. I put my trust in Michael, and it won’t be misplaced, that he will do a job.”

Assessing the cards in his favour, Schumacher added: “I have won the title seven times, I’m with a team that won both titles last year, and you have Mercedes as a team owner.

“So you can’t expect anything else other than going for the world championship. That’s what we’re aiming for.

“Yes, there will be strong competition, but I am absolutely thrilled to be back, and right in the middle of it.”

Mercedes have already been dubbed ’Team Germany’ as Schumacher will partner Nico Rosberg for the manufacturer.

With Button and Lewis Hamilton lining up for McLaren, and with old adversary Fernando Alonso alongside Massa at Ferrari, F1 fans could be in for a treat.

“It’s a nice, tasty story indeed,” smiled Schumacher.

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