Apr.18 (GMM) Mercedes will decide later this season if Michael Schumacher's contract will be extended beyond 2012.

The current three year deal, which began when the seven time world champion decided to return to F1 from retirement with Mercedes in 2010, runs out this season.

Schumacher struggled notably in 2010 and 2011 but appears to have returned to form with the W03, which in teammate Nico Rosberg's hands won the recent Chinese Grand Prix from pole.

So will the famous German, who will be 44 next year, race the W04 in 2013?

He's a fantastic driver and a great team player.

Briton Brawn

"Everything is completely open," team boss Ross Brawn is quoted by German publications, including Sport1.

"It will be clear what is best for him, what is best for us, and what is best for all of us together, at some point in the season," he added.

"But there is still a long way to go until then," said Brawn.

According to paddock insiders, a new deal for Schumacher is highly likely.

"He's a fantastic driver and a great team player," Briton Brawn, a close colleague and friend dating back to their successful days at Ferrari, concluded.

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes AMG F1 leads Jenson Button, McLaren
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes AMG F1 leads Jenson Button, McLaren

Photo by: xpb.cc