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Michael Schumacher targets 2011 F1 championship

German Grand Prix, 23-25 July, Hockenheim
Coverage: Live on BBC One, Red Button, BBC Sport website and Radio 5 live Full details of practice, qualifying and Sunday's race

Michael Schumacher

Schumacher hopes for Mercedes success

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Hockenheim

Michael Schumacher says he will drive for Mercedes again in 2011 - because he has not reached his "final target" of winning an eighth world championship.

The 41-year-old German returned to Formula 1 this season after three years in retirement but has been well off the pace in the drivers' championship.

Schumacher said: "When I came back [the target] was to win another title. That's what I'm here for, very clearly.

"I know the final target, where I want to go, I'm confident I can achieve it."

Ahead of the German Grand Prix, a race he has won four times, Schumacher is ninth in the drivers championship, 109 points adrift of leader McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and 54 points behind team-mate Nico Rosberg.

There have been rumours that Schumacher, who signed a three-year contract, might stop at the end of this season.

I don't think Michael can quit now - he has to stay next year. He has to stay until he's winning races, for himself to leave the sport

Jenson Button

But despite his struggles this season, the former Ferrari man, who has signed a three-year deal with Mercedes, insists he has the patience to see his comeback through.

Schumacher said: "Perfectly happy with my own performance is probably wrong to say. But put it this way: yes, there is an expectation out there which, I think you have to be realistic, is impossible to meet.

"I am away three years and just to come back and start exactly where I finished with maybe a car that doesn't allow me to right now is probably unrealistic. I am not a magician either. It just needs time. I take that time. I enjoy most of all this process."

Schumacher's Mercedes team were world champions last year as Jenson Button took the drivers championship and the team lifted the constructors trophy in their previous guise as Brawn GP.

Button said: "It's the first year Michael's had to drive a car that hasn't been built around him. Hopefully, Michael will still be here next year.

606: DEBATE
Schumacher94

"I don't think he can quit now - he has to stay next year. He has to stay until he's winning races, for himself to leave the sport."

And Schumacher, who won his last world championship in 2004, admitted this season had not gone as smoothly as he had hoped.

"There were some setbacks and moments where you would, obviously, be a little bit angry. But that is what it is about. There are ups and downs and that is the excitement of motorsport."

He conceded the high expectations he had at the start of the season could no longer be met.

"You sort of think that there might be a possibility to continue on from [the success of 2009], but then it's easy and clear enough to understand why that is not possible."

Michael Schumacher gives Giancarlo Fissichella a lift back to the pits

Classic F1 - German Grand Prix 1997



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see also
German GP build-up photos
22 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
I'm here to stay, says Schumacher
26 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Mercedes chief backs Schumacher
16 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher signs up for F1 return
23 Dec 09 |  Formula 1


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