Mercedes chiefs fuel Schumacher return talk

MERCEDES GP chiefs have fuelled speculation they could tempt Michael Schumacher out of retirement after confirming Nico Rosberg will drive for them next year.<br /><br />Schumacher, 41, has not raced since calling time on his career in 2006 after winning seven world championships with Benetton and Ferrari. But the track legend has been linked with a sensational return with Mercedes, who took over Brawn GP last week and are seeking a partner for Rosberg.<br /><br />Schumacher came close to making a comeback last season, as a temporary stand-in for Ferrari&rsquo;s Felipe Massa, only for injury concerns to scupper the plan. But the neck trouble that posed the problem is expected to heal long before the start of next season, and Mercedes chiefs pointedly refused to rule out a signing that would represent a huge coup.<br /><br />Asked to categorically deny the possibility, Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug said: When will you ever say categorically anything in F1?&rdquo;<br /><br />Referring to team principal Ross Brawn&rsquo;s comments at the weekend that Schumacher&rsquo;s return was &ldquo;a fantasy of the media&rdquo;, Haug added: &ldquo;What Ross pointed out, I think we have to respect that. I fully understand that these speculations are ongoing as long as we don&rsquo;t announce who is driving the other car but that&rsquo;s what we have to live with.&rdquo;<br /><br />Mercedes GP chief executive Nick Fry declined to elaborate on the matter, but said the team hoped to finalise its second driver before Christmas.<br /><br />Rosberg has four years&rsquo; experience with Williams but is yet to win a race in 70 attempts. Fellow German Nick Heidfeld, without a drive following the withdrawal of BMW, is also in the frame to join him at Mercedes.<br />