Michael Schumacher will return to the Formula One fold as a driver in 2010, according to reports in the German media, having finally inked a deal to join countryman Nico Rosberg at the rebranded Mercedes Grand Prix team.

The rumour mill has been in overdrive with speculation that Schumacher was being tempted out of retirement by the emergence of a 'works' squad from the Three Pointed Star, but neither the German nor the team has yet made a definitive announcement. However, even as Schumacher prepares to test a GP2 car to evaluate his fitness, German newspaper Bild claims that he has struck a one-year deal to line-up alongside Rosberg under the guiding hand of reigning world champion Ross Brawn.

The report reveals that the seven-time world champion put pen to paper on a ?6m deal at Mercedes' Brackley base late on Tuesday, ending a three-year 'sabbatical' to reunite with Brawn, who helped direct the titles he gained with Benetton and Ferrari.

Question marks still remain over the 40-year old's fitness, meanwhile, after he aborted an earlier comeback with the Scuderia following Felipe Massa's season-ending injury in Hungary. On that occasion, Schumacher allegedly decided against returning to the cockpit after a neck injury sustained in a January motorcycle accident proved too troublesome to overcome, leaving Luca Badoer and Giancarlo Fisichella to struggle with a recalcitrant F60

Should Mercedes build on the success achieved by the Brawn GP team it replaces, Schumacher will look to add to his record haul of 91 race wins, even if taking an eighth world title may not yet be on his radar. The one-year deal with the team is expected to help it fill the void until a possible poaching of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel pairs the wunderkind with Rosberg in 2011, and also reunites Schumacher with the marque that helped establish him on the international scene via its successful sportscar programme in the early '90s.

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