BERLIN, Aug 14, 2011 (AFP) - Seven-times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher has put an end to rumours he may retire at the end of the season by inisting Sunday he will race in 2012 for Mercedes.
"I'll certainly be racing next year, that is definite," Schumacher said at a Mercedes' function.
Rumours of Schumacher's second retirement were fuelled by comments the 42-year-old made to an Italian newspaper, but Sunday's declaration has poured cold water on any retirement talk.
Having won the last of his seven world titles in 2004, Schumacher retired in 2006, only to return to race with German team Mercedes in 2010.
But whether he races on after 2012, when his three-year contract expires, remains to be decided.
"We will have to see how things develop and how much energy and fun is still there," he said.
Currently 10th in the world championship -- 202 points behind leader and compatriot Sebastian Vettel -- Schumacher is realistic about his chances of an eighth title next season.
"It would be presumptuous if one expects us to fight for the title next year, at the moment we are too far behind," he said.
Schumacher says podium places are his goal for next year, but since his comeback at the start of 2010, he has yet to finish a race in the top three.
From his Mercedes team, there is no time pressure. "We need a little longer to get to the top, but time is necessary. And we
on the board will give that time," said Thomas Weber, Mercedes' Head of Group Research.