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Michael Schumacher targets eighth Formula 1 title

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Watch the full interview with Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher says he intends to crown his Formula 1 comeback by challenging for the 2010 title.

The seven-time champion announced his return for 2010 on Wednesday with Mercedes, the renamed Brawn GP team.

Despite three years out of the sport, he insists he can threaten the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button - the 2008 and 2009 world champions.

"I have won the title seven times and the team won both titles last year, so what do you expect?" said the German.

Schumacher, 41 on 3 January, added: "Now Mercedes are team owners you cannot expect anything else other than the world title. That is what we aim for but we have to deliver and that is our job.

Forget about winning races - I have him on my bill for winning the championship

Bernie Ecclestone on Schumacher

"Honestly, I can't wait until 1 February, when we will officially run the car."

Schumacher retired in 2006 after competing in 250 grands 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% motivation that will give us many exciting races in 2010."

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Schumacher almost returned to F1 last summer.

He was going to act as a stand-in for injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa but pulled out because of a neck injury 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 £6.2m 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.

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

"He's the most competitive guy that I know," Di Grassi said recently. "Everybody I know goes there [to the karting event] to have a good time and enjoy it and have fun. Michael goes there and spends two hours making a seat one millimetre higher."

Michael Schumacher

Report - Schumacher returns to F1

Williams driver Rubens Barrichello, who drove with Schumacher at Ferrari, suggested the German driver's track record was the key to Mercedes' decision to lure him out of retirement.

"Experience is all that matters in F1 now," former Brawn driver Barrichello wrote on his Twitter feed. "The team needed me last year and needs Schumi now. I hope for a great fight, but a clean one as well."

BBC analyst Martin Brundle believes his former team-mate from his Benetton days will have to work hard on his return to the sport.

"Michael says he has charged his batteries on his break, but I think he will need a couple of extra long life ones in his pocket," he said.

"The last two championships he contested, Fernando Alonso won both and hasn't slowed down since then.

"There are drivers like Button, Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel on the scene now, and Michael is going to have to pedal very hard to beat those guys.

"I wouldn't bet against him winning some races, or even the championship, but he will have his work cut out."

Michael Schumacher

Classic F1 - Schumacher's first win

Mercedes chief executive Nick Fry believes Schumacher's return has captured the imagination of their team rivals and the sport's fans.

"The thing that has been very interesting is that all of F1 wants Michael back," Fry told BBC Radio 5 live.

"So many team principals have told us in the last few weeks that they really hoped he would come back.

"Its good for the sport and will help us build more and more fans around the world and that's important for all of us."



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see also
Schumacher signs up for F1 return
23 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Reaction to Schumacher's return
23 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Schumacher's career in photos
29 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Schumacher close to Mercedes deal
18 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Mercedes eager to sign Schumacher
15 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari clear way for Schumacher
14 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Mercedes want Schumacher - Jordan
20 Nov 09 |  Formula 1
Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 team
16 Nov 09 |  Formula 1


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