Mike Stevens | Jun 11, 2010

Michael Schumacher looks set to stay at Mercedes in 2011.

The famous German, who initially retired in 2006, is believed to have signed a three-year contract prior to returning to Formula One this season.

But after a difficult re-acclimatisation, it had been widely speculated that the 41-year-old might prefer to step back out of the race cockpit at the end of 2010.

Boss Ross Brawn said in Turkey that he hopes both Schumacher and Nico Rosberg stay at the team in 2011.

Schumacher's younger brother Ralf also thinks the seven-time world champion is staying put.

"I think he's pretty happy with what he's doing and, as far as I know, it's a three-year plan, so I'm sure we'll see him around for a while," he told 422race.com.

And Schumacher himself is quoted as saying on Thursday: "For me this is not a one-year project."

That commitment might lead to Mercedes eventually calling off development of the silver MGP-01 in order to concentrate early on its 2011 successor.

"By mid-season, we must look to put the F-duct in and catch up to the top," Brawn added. "If it is worthwhile to keep attacking then we will do it, if not we will concentrate everything on 2011."

The Briton told Italy's Autosprint magazine that he still thinks the pacesetting Red Bull cars are still within reach.

"Some aspects of their car is different from all the others," he explained. "Other teams will introduce these elements in the next races.

"I know that everyone is looking with great interest at their exhaust system," said Brawn.

(GMM)

 

Marko Has 'Learned' From Comments: Webber

Mark Webber on Thursday insisted he can still work at Red Bull alongside Dr Helmut Marko.

Two weeks ago, it was the team's Austrian consultant Marko who began blaming Australian Webber for the crash with his teammate Sebastian Vettel in Turkey.

It raised the suspicion that the team's powerful German-speaking faction favours youngster Vettel over Webber, but all parties sat down for a clear-the-air meeting at Milton-Keynes last week.

"I had a good chat with Helmut at the factory. He's fine," Webber, 33, told reporters at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

He was asked what he thought about Marko immediately blaming him for the crash, while many pundits within the paddock believe it was Vettel's fault.

"Helmut wasn't fully up to speed with all the facts at the time. He went pretty quick with his comments, which he's learned from and will move on," said Webber.

Also revealing that he had a "very positive" phone conversation with team owner Dietrich Mateschitz since the incident, Webber said he understands Marko's tilt towards 22-year-old Vettel's side of the garage.

"He brought Seb along, he speaks the language, so you can expect a bit of emotional support that way. But I'm fine with that.

"Helmut has been ... there are a lot of things that have happened with this team through his support, and I've been off the back of that as well," Webber said.

Vettel's media scrum on Thursday was an uncomfortable one for the 22-year-old, with some reporters pushing the German hard to issue an apology.

When it became clear that no apology would be forthcoming, one questioner asked him if, like his countryman Michael Schumacher, he finds it difficult to admit his mistakes.

"The way that I grew up and the way that I am, honesty is something that is very important to me. You can ask anybody in the garage, if I make a mistake in qualifying then I am the first to raise my hand and blame myself.

"I am open for self-criticism and I try to improve myself. I'm not jumping out of the car and saying this is a shit car if I couldn't do better," said Vettel.

"If from my side something isn't right I raise my hand and stand up. I have no problem with that and it's one important thing in life otherwise it will always come back to you," he added.

(GMM)

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