Ross Brawn has revealed that Mercedes will consider its driver lineup for 2012 “later in the season”.
Michael Schumacher is under contract to stay alongside Nico Rosberg next year, but there has been speculation that the seven time world champion might call time on his mixed return to F1 at the end of 2011.
“He has a three year contract with Mercedes, and we are very happy with him,” team boss Brawn told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
“But if he feels that he doesn’t want to do it any more, then we need to talk about it. You can’t force somebody to do something.
“But we believe in him; he’s an important part of our team,” added the Briton.
Asked directly if Mercedes still wanted to work with Schumacher in 2012, Brawn insisted: “Yes, of course. We will get together later in the season.”
He said Rosberg is “definitely” the best teammate Schumacher has ever had.
“Sometimes it’s like the young Michael Schumacher is standing before me,” said Brawn. “He goes about his job with an incredible intensity, he has no emotional weaknesses and is incredibly talented.
“Perhaps the situation would be a little easier for Michael if he had a teammate who was not so incredibly strong. But both can learn many things from each other, and everyone is up to the challenge.”