Michael Schumacher - the most successful driver in F1 history - will make a sensational return to top flight competition in 2010, Mercedes Grand Prix has officially confirmed, as the German legend vowed to fight for the title once again as he writes a 'new chapter' in his extraordinary career at 41 years of age.

The announcement of a reputed ?6.25 million one-year deal cements speculation that has been sweeping the paddock for weeks, and completes an all-German 'super team' for the three-pointed star, with Schumacher joining forces with highly-rated young compatriot Nico Rosberg - who confessed that he is relishing the prospect of going up against a driver with no fewer than seven world championship crowns, 91 grand prix victories, 154 podium finishes and a staggering 1,369 points to his name from 249 previous starts at the highest level between 1991 and 2006.

Schumacher hung up his F1 helmet three years ago, but some have suggested that he was pushed out of Ferrari rather than jumped, being given the option of either retiring or else staying alongside the incoming Kimi Raikkonen - the man the Scuderia felt at the time was his natural heir and long-term replacement, mistakenly, as it would transpire - and forcing his then team-mate and prot?g? Felipe Massa out of a seat.

The Kerpen native duly left, but he also left behind some unfinished business - and after his failed comeback in-place of Massa following the Brazilian's terrifying Hungaroring qualifying accident during the summer re-awakened his thirst for the fight, he is now back to finish it off.

"Mercedes Grand Prix Petronas represents a new challenge for me both in a sporting and a personal context," Schumacher affirmed of his agreement to rejoin forces with the 'Silver Arrows' following a month of in-depth talks. "It is a new chapter in my racing career, and I am really looking forward to working with my old friend Ross Brawn and my companions from my days with the Mercedes Junior Programme.

"I am convinced that together we will be involved in the fight for the Formula 1 World Championship next year, and I am already looking forward to getting back onto the race track. For me, this partnership closes the circle. Mercedes supported me for so many years when I began my Formula 1 career - and now I can hopefully give something back to the brand with the star."

Indeed, Schumacher was parachuted into F1 with Jordan Grand Prix in the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps - going on to qualify an incredible seventh on his debut - off the back of a successful partnership in Group C sportscars with the Mercedes Junior Programme, and after moving on to Benetton just a race later, he would strike up with Brawn what has been inarguably the most fruitful driver/technical director relationship in the sport's history.

The Englishman helped to expertly guide his charge to each and every one of his drivers' titles - at both Benetton and Ferrari - and is now at the helm of Mercedes Grand Prix, having sold his eponymously-named outfit onto the Stuttgart manufacturer in the wake of double world championship glory in 2009. It is clear that the reunion is a happy one for both parties.

"I am delighted that we can confirm today that Michael will make his much-anticipated return to Formula 1 next year and drive for our Mercedes Grand Prix Petronas team," the 55-year-old enthused. "As a seven-time world champion, Michael's outstanding record in Formula 1 speaks for itself and I am looking forward to working with him again.

"With the completion of our driver line-up, I believe that we now have the most exciting partnership in Formula 1 with Michael and Nico, who provide the perfect mix of talent, experience, speed and youth. We can now turn our full attention to the preparations for the new season, and everyone at Mercedes Grand Prix Petronas is extremely excited about the challenge ahead.

"With the investment and support in our team provided by Daimler, Aabar and our new title partner Petronas, and with two such exciting drivers, we have all of the building blocks in-place to have another successful season in 2010."

"In April, 1991, when I had been in charge of the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport programme for just six months, Michael was standing beside me on the balcony one evening," related Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug. "Without the slightest doubt, he said in a low voice 'It's about time that I got into Formula 1'. Michael had just turned 22 years of age, and four months later he made his debut at Spa in a Jordan. Mercedes-Benz helped him to this point, and the rest is history.

"Michael has more of everything than every other driver. As part of the Mercedes Junior Programme, Michael raced in Group C sportscars and competed in a few DTM races. Ross Brawn, then our opponent at Jaguar, quickly realised Michael's talent and they went on to win all seven of his drivers' world championship titles together at Benetton and Ferrari. Our sporting ambition has always been that Michael should drive again where his professional career had started, and Michael knew that.

"We often joked about it after the races and discussed the prospect seriously several times during the last 14 years in Formula 1. It didn't happen in 1995, it didn't happen in 1998 and it didn't happen in 2005. I am delighted that it will now happen in 2010. I am very much looking forward to working with Michael, and everybody at Mercedes-Benz and Daimler extends a very warm welcome to our 'apprentice' of 19 years ago. That apprentice is now the most successful racing driver of all time."



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