It has been a busy week for Mercedes F1...
Further to earlier speculation, on Wednesday 23rd December, the team officially announced that seven time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher will race for them alongside fellow German Nico Rosberg in 2010.
Schumacher, ever confident, has already set his sights on an unprecedented eighth World title which he believes to be achievable despite his age and three year absence from the sport.
He is basing this assumption on the fact the Brawn GP (now Mercedes) Team produced the Championship winning car and driver in 2009.
As I have stated in this blog on a number of occasions, I believe that Brawn were afforded an early season advantage in 2009 over their rivals due to their clever interpretation of the technical rules regarding the use of a double diffuser.
By the time the other teams had modified their cars, Brawn had the Championship effectively sewn up.
It is highly unlikely, in my opinion, that the Brawn/Mercedes team will be afforded the same head start in 2010 and therefore it follows, that Schumacher will not have an open road to the Championship.
I do believe 2010 will be a very tight season with several teams and drivers in the hunt for Constructors and Drivers Championships.
Massa and Alonso at Ferrari will be fun to watch taking points from each other - and, I expect, squabbling throughout the season.
I have a good feeling about Hamilton at McLaren - provided the team can produce a decent car. I believe Button will struggle with a top class team mate coupled with an unfamilar car and team organisation.
If Red Bull can continue to develop their car, Vettel will definitely be another Championship contender. I would like to include Mark Webber in the list of possible Champions but fear he will continue to be dogged with the bad luck that has plagued his career to date.
In addition to the news of Michael Schumacher's impending return to F1, Mercedes have also signed a title sponsorship agreement with Malaysian oil giant Petronas, much to the chagrin of Lotus F1 who had hoped to do the deal themselves.
My friend Himmat Singh in Malaysia has written an interesting post on his blog from a local perspective about the Petronas/Mercedes link up and it's implications for Lotus.
If you'd like to read it, please click here.
How do you think Michael Schumacher will fair in 2010? Will he still be competitive or just make up the numbers?
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