Michael Schumacher will return to Formula 1 in 2010, after Mercedes GP confirmed that the seven-time world champion is joining its team next year.
Schumacher has signed a one-year deal to join Mercedes GP for next season, marking an F1 comeback after three years on the sidelines. Extension of the arrangement for additional years will be dependant on the 41-year-olds' performance. Although he will be the oldest driver on the grid when the season kicks off in Bahrain, Schumacher said on that he is not coming back simply to have fun.
"It is a team that has won both championships this year," he said. "With Mercedes Benz as a strong partner, our aim can only be to fight for the championship. There will be strong competition, as we have seen, but I am thrilled to be back in this one."
Schumacher originally retired from F1 at the end of 2006, and he had appeared fully content to be away from the pressures and strains of racing in motor sport's top category. He maintained links with F1 through an ambassadorial role with Ferrari, and his on-track activities revolved around outings in a kart and a move to motorcycle racing.
However, last season Schumacher agreed to a comeback as a temporary stand-in for the injured Felipe Massa at Ferrari. Despite training hard for the return, however, Schumacher's plans had to be called off due to a neck injury that he had sustained in a motorcycle crash earlier this year.
The events of the summer appeared to have rekindled his enthusiasm for F1 and when Brawn GP failed to conclude a deal with world champion Jenson Button for 2010, Schumacher was instantly installed as the favourite to replace him.
The deal could not be concluded until Schumacher's neck was given the all-clear by doctors but once that happened, talks advanced quickly to seal the deal.
Schumacher's move to Mercedes GP marks a reunion between himself and the German car maker that helped push him into F1. He raced for Mercedes-Benz as part of its junior driver programme, competing in world sportscar events during 1990 and 1991.
Schumacher's decision means that Mercedes GP will field an all-German driver line-up in 2010, having already confirmed several weeks ago that Nico Rosberg will race for it.