Bernie Ecclestone does not expect Michael Schumacher to re-enter retirement at the end of his new three-year Mercedes contract.
After spending the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons on the sidelines in the wake of his ultra-successful first career, the 41-year-old decided to return to the sport this season.
He has signed a three-year deal, and the German indicated in Melbourne on Thursday that he will return to his retirement when that period is over.
When explaining why he has not rejoined the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, Schumacher said: “I’m not here for the long-term future, only for a limited time, (so) I don’t think I should get involved.”
But Ecclestone, F1’s chief executive, thinks Schumacher will change his mind.
“I think his new career will be long, maybe even ten years,” said the 79-year-old Briton in an interview with Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport.
Mercedes test driver Nick Heidfeld told the German newspaper AZ that he thinks Schumacher will continue to improve his pace over the next few races.
“Michael got better during the Bahrain weekend, and he will continue to get better from now on,” said the German.