Schumacher back in Formula One limelight

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The Independent Online

Michael Schumacher sauntered back into the Formula One limelight in Mercedes overalls today to kick off his bid for a record eighth title at the ripe old age of 41.

Returning to centre stage three years after he retired, the former Ferrari driver looked trim and relaxed as he appeared alongside fellow-German Nico Rosberg at a presentation of the Mercedes GP team.

"It's a great emotion and a great feeling I am getting," said Schumacher, the sport's most successful driver, in his first public appearance for his new team since announcing his comeback last month.

The car presented to the media at a livery launch was the 2009 Brawn GP that took Britain's Jenson Button to the title, repainted in the evocative 'Silver Arrows' colours of the team's new owners.

The Mercedes museum was a fitting backdrop for a Mercedes-powered car, albeit largely designed by Honda, that carved its place in Formula One history by winning Brawn the constructors' crown at the first attempt.

The new Mercedes will be make its debut when testing starts at Spain's Valencia circuit on 1 February.

Button has since moved to Mercedes-powered McLaren, whose team principal Martin Whitmarsh was invited to the launch, alongside 2008 world champion and compatriot Lewis Hamilton.

The season ahead will have a Germany v Britain sub-plot, with Mercedes fielding an entirely German line-up against McLaren's all-English selection.