Bernie Ecclestone has confessed that he is 'absolutely over the moon' that record-breaking multiple world champion Michael Schumacher 'looks' to be making a sensational grand prix comeback with Mercedes in F1 2010.
The speculation that the two German legends are to join forces next year – for the first time in almost two decades – has been intensifying in recent weeks, with neither side choosing to refute the rumours and Mercedes Grand Prix CEO Nick Fry all-but confirming that negotiations are at an advanced stage, admitting that the 91-time grand prix-winner 'would be very good for our team...the view from inside F1, not just my team, is they all hope it will happen' [see separate story – click here
Even more tellingly, the Englishman added that in the absence of a deal, 'there are alternatives that we would be happy to go with' – suggesting that Schumacher is clearly the number one target for the three-pointed star.
Aware that the return of the most successful driver in official F1 history would be a massive injection of positive publicity for a sport that has endured more than its fair share of scandals and blows in recent years, commercial rights supremo Ecclestone is understandably effusive about the prospect of a celebrated Schumacher comeback after three years away from the grid.
Asked by The Times
if he thought Robert Kubica might take advantage of Renault's majority sale to Luxembourg-based investment fund Genii Capital [see separate story – click here
] to jump ship to the Stuttgart manufacturer, the British billionaire was blunt – revealing both that he would be 'surprised' were Schumacher not to join Mercedes in F1 2010 and that he is 'absolutely over the moon' at such a thought.
“Well, they've got Michael, haven't they,” the 79-year-old opined. “They won't want Michael and Kubica. I'd be surprised if he (Schumacher) is not driving for them, but I don't know if that's fact. It looks like it's going to happen.”