Mike Stevens | Dec 16, 2009

MERCEDES GRAND PRIX has admitted it is interested in luring seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher out of retirement and into a race seat next season.

A potential Schumacher comeback has been the subject of strong speculation. Now, German newspaper Bild is claiming a deal has been finalised, while Ferrari has cleared the path for the 40-year-old to return.

However, Mercedes GP Chief Executive Officer Nick Fry has given the strongest hint yet that Schumacher could be set for a return by revealing he is the team’s number one target for next season.

“He would be very good for our team. The view from inside F1, not just my team, is they all hope it will happen,” he said to the BBC.

“I can't tell you at this stage [if it will happen], unfortunately. A number of drivers are still available if Michael were to decide not to drive. Then there are alternatives that we would be happy to go with.”

f1_mercedes-gp_brawnSchumacher was on the verge of returning to F1 after a three-year absence earlier this year, only for an existing neck injury to scupper his comeback.

Meanwhile, Renault is set to announce its Formula 1 future at a press conference in Paris tonight (Australian time).

The French outfit is expected to confirm it has sold a 75 per cent stake in the team to Genii Capital, the investment vehicle of Luxembourg-based billionaire Gerard Lopez.

Reports suggest the team will continue to compete as Renault next season, with the manufacturer set to remain as engine supplier until 2011.

David Richards’ Prodrive outfit also expressed interest in purchasing the outfit only to again miss out on reaching the F1 grid after initially being overlooked during May’s series expansion.

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