Jul.4 (GMM) Whether or not Michael Schumacher stays at Mercedes beyond this year should be decided within the next six weeks, team boss Ross Brawn has revealed.

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP and Ross Brawn, Team Principal, Mercedes GP Petronas
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP and Ross Brawn, Team Principal, Mercedes GP Petronas

Photo by: xpb.cc

The 43-year-old's contract runs out this year, in which he has so far performed more strongly than in 2010 and 2011 but suffered a spate of technical failures and incidents.

It has been suggested Mercedes protege Paul di Resta, currently at Mercedes-powered Force India, is the most likely candidate to replace the seven time world champion.

"We will make a decision this summer," said team boss Brawn at the FOTA fan's forum at Williams' team headquarters on Tuesday.

"We know it is coming and we have to make a decision soon. I think in the next six weeks or so we will have to think about what we want to do next year."

With Schumacher's contract running out, the major complication for Mercedes is that its apparent top pick as replacement, Scot di Resta, already has an agreement in place for 2013.

But Force India deputy principal Bob Fernley said the Silverstone based team would not stand in his way.

He said on Tuesday: "We would not get in the way of the career of a driver but there would have to be commercial agreement in place."