Schumacher targets eighth Formula 1 title

“That is what we aim for but we have to deliver and that is our job. Honestly, I can’t wait until February 1, when we will officially run the car.”

Schumacher retired in 2006 after competing in 250 grand prix, 180 of them for Ferrari. He won 91 races, 71 for Ferrari, on his way to his multiple world titles. F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, has welcomed Schumacher’s return and believes he can even win the title at the age of 41.

“Forget about winning races – I have him on my bill for winning the championship,” Ecclestone told F1’s official website. “It’s fantastic for Formula 1 that he turned into a ‘comeback kid’ but at the same time, it’s good for Michael.

“Now he has all his strength together and has 100 per cent motivation that will give us many exciting races in 2010.”

Schumacher almost returned to F1 last summer. He was going to act as a stand-in for Ferrari’s injured driver, Felipe Massa, but pulled out because of a neck injury he sustained in a motorcycle accident last February. Recent medical checks have been positive though, and he is confident he is back to full fitness.

Schumacher will reportedly earn £6.2 million after reuniting with Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn, who masterminded all seven of his titles, the first two with Benetton in 1994-5 and the subsequent five with Ferrari from 2000-4.

Williams’ driver, Rubens Barrichello, who drove with Schumacher at Ferrari, suggested that the German driver’s track record was the key to Mercedes’ decision to lure him out of retirement. The Brawn former driver, Barrichello, wrote on his Twitter feed: “Experience is all that matters in F1 now.

“The team needed me last year and needs Schumi now. I hope for a great fight, but a clean one as well.”

Lucas di Grassi, who will make his debut with Virgin Racing next season, believes that Schumacher still possesses the will to win after losing to him in a recent karting event in Brazil.

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