After a career of 20 years in F1, Michael Schumacher never fails to surprise and it seems the seven-times world champion isn't thinking of stopping anytime soon after reports from German newspaper Bild indicate the German legend looks set to stun the F1 paddock once again.

Schumacher has reportedly agreed to extend his existing contract through to the end of 2013 after only previously agreeing to a contract which would see him race for the Silver Arrow for three years.

These reports could come as a great shock after a couple of largely disappointing seasons which haven't lived up to anyone's expectation and which have fuelled criticism of the 42-year-old. However it seems that the competitive spark has clearly not vanished judging not only from this alleged decision, but also from the results produced in the second half of this season.

The general consensus still maintains that Mercedes won't be in position to challenge for titles next season. But with the major technical overhaul the team seems to be going through with a number of key additions in the shape of technical guru's Aldo Costa and Geoff Willis to name but a few, that could all change in 2013, something which Schumacher himself realises.

"I have proved I can run in the races faster than my teammate Nico Rosberg; overall we are on the right track. It is unlikely that in 2012 we will be in a position to go for the title, because first we need to lay down the foundation that we can then use in 2013," said the veteran.

Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn and vice president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug also maintain a similar view to that of their driver, indicating they have every confidence that Schumacher can still achieve the highest standards.

"Whoever wrote off Michael has been proved wrong. He is driving fantastic races; no one has made up more positions than him on the first lap," said Haug.

"There is no reason why Michael should not continue. He's very valuable to the team and has not lost his edge," Brawn concluded.

by Simon Evans