Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he would like to see Michael Schumacher on the pitwall when he hangs up his helmet once again.
Throughout F1’s August break, the seven time world champion and his management had to fend off the latest round of speculation suggesting Schumacher, 42, could or should quit at the end of this season.
“I can not see Michael leaving Formula 1 until he believes that the team is not competitive and he really thinks it’s time to go,” DPA news agency quotes F1 chief executive Ecclestone as saying on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Schumacher’s 1991 debut.
When that time eventually comes, Ecclestone thinks the great German would make an ideal team boss.
“He should run a team,” the 80-year-old Briton continued. “With his experience and his talent, he would be first class.”
Mercedes chief Ross Brawn, however, said Schumacher is not ready to hang up his helmet.
“Michael is a great driver, but what is not seen and what also made him a multiple world champion is his work with the team behind the scenes.
“If we can give him a car with the potential to fight for the championship, then I have no doubt that he will be in a position to win his eighth title,” added Brawn.
Along with Ecclestone’s team boss speculation however is Norbert Haug’s admission this week that a move at some point to the German touring car series DTM cannot be ruled out for Schumacher.
“It’s quite possible that Schumacher is being offered a ‘voluntary’ departure so that he can save face,” said Austria’s Sportwoche magazine.
But with 20 years now on the F1 odometer, might Schumacher also celebrate a quarter-century at the pinnacle of motor racing in a few years’ time?
“With Michael, you can never say never,” said his manager Sabine Kehm.