Reports last night indicated that Michael Schumacher was on the verge of retiring from Formula One for the second time – which will clear the way for Lewis Hamilton to leave McLaren and sign for Mercedes.
Schumacher, the seven-time world champion who came out of retirement to join the German team in 2009, will announce the end of his F1 career in Stuttgart this morning, according to the Daily Mail. Hamilton is expected to fill the vacancy and should decide on his future before next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix. Speculation is building that the 2008 world champion will reject McLaren's attempts to keep him and sign a £15m-a-year deal with Mercedes.
Speaking to BBC Five Live yesterday, the Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said of Schumacher's plans: "It's still under discussion, I'm afraid. I can't comment very much on that, but Michael's been a huge asset to the team, he's really taken us forward. I do think Michael contributes an awful lot, so I think the decision for Michael to stay or not continue is a difficult one."