Ross Brawn has admitted that provided next year is a successful one for both parties, he sees 'no reason' why Mercedes Grand Prix and Michael Schumacher should not prolong their partnership beyond the end of 2012.
Schumacher produced what was by some margin his finest performance since his return to competitive action in last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, battling his way brilliantly up to second position in just the kind of tricky conditions in which he has always excelled.
Indeed, the seven-time world champion was only denied a well-deserved podium finish – what would have been his first since the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai – when he was powerless to defend against the visibly faster McLaren-Mercedes of eventual race-winner Jenson Button and the Red Bull Racing of Mark Webber in the closing stages.
Over the course of the weekend, the most successful driver in F1 history had hinted that he might be looking to continue his top flight return by extending his current three-year agreement with Mercedes, reasoning that 'it took me five years at Ferrari before I won my first title and Red Bull has taken five years to get success' and that victory will not 'happen overnight' [see separate story – click here
]. In Monaco two weeks earlier, he had claimed that 'good things come to those who wait'.
In Montreal, Schumacher added that 'at the right time we will talk about it, but right now would make no sense' – but his feisty effort around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has set tongues wagging inside the paddock that the German legend may yet carry on into 2013, by when he will be 44 years of age, almost twice that of some of his principal rivals. Whilst dismissing such speculation and cautioning against jumping the gun since 'the situation has not changed, tellingly, nor does Mercedes team principal Brawn rule the scenario out.
“I am very happy with our two drivers – they are not the reason we are not winning races,” the Englishman told Sky Germany
. “Both our drivers have contracts at the moment, and our priority is to make the car better. We definitely have another year with Michael, and if with next year's car we can get the results we want, then I see no reason why we shouldn't go on – but at the moment there are no talks.”