According to reports in the media, Michael Schumacher's recently-renewed contract with Ferrari may not include any F1 duties – leading to wild speculation that the legendary record-breaking multiple world champion could be the 'surprise' to whom Norbert Haug refers in the new Mercedes Grand Prix driver line-up.
Spanish newspaper Diario AS
claims that the new deal Schumacher inked with Ferrari back in September – due to run until the end of 2012 – will focus primarily on the Scuderia's
road car development, with the German relinquishing his advisory role on the F1 side.
That, allied to Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Haug's enigmatic declaration that there could be some 'surprises' in the driver line-up of the newly-rebranded Mercedes Grand Prix outfit in 2010 – what was in 2009 Brawn GP [see separate story – click here
] – has prompted some to wonder whether Schumacher could be the mystery driver to join ex-Williams F1 ace Nico Rosberg in an all-German, Silver Arrows 'super team' next year.
Though now into his fifth decade and with nothing left to prove, the man from Kerpen has repeatedly admitted that his test outing ahead of his ultimately abortive comeback in-place of the injured Felipe Massa earlier in the summer has whetted his appetite for a return to active competition after three years out of the cockpit.
With Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo's desire for third cars to be legalised in 2010 looking unlikely in the extreme – and with Schumacher having effectively sprung to prominence with Mercedes in sportscars back at the turn of the 1990s – is there time for one last chapter to be written in the incredible career of the seven-time F1 World Champion, with a return full circle from Maranello to Stuttgart for one final fling..?