Michael Schumacher has dismissed the latest rumblings about his commitment to his three-year Formula One return.
After a disappointing comeback in 2010, it was rumoured the seven time world champion's commitment to completing the contract depended on his form this year.
And in the wake of the opening three grands prix of 2011, speculation is now re-emerging about 42-year-old German Schumacher returning to retirement at the end of this season -- perhaps to make room for Mercedes' impressive protege Paul di Resta.
But Schumacher has told the German weekly Bunte that he is still planning to fulfil the three years of his original contract.
Schumacher said he feels he is "on a mission" to take Mercedes back to the top of the podium, even though he admits "chasing for tenth place is not fun".
He insisted however that he expects to be in a much better position soon. "That's why I'm fighting with Mercedes," he said.
"His current results do not reflect how good he is
Observers, however, have noticed key differences with the Schumacher of the past, and even the winner of 91 grands prix admits that "42 (years old) is not the same as 25".
But he insisted: "I will fulfil my three year contract with Mercedes and afterwards work as a representative of the brand."
In an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper, 25-year-old Nico Rosberg defended his famous teammate.
"Michael performs at a high level, he is strong," he said. "His current results do not reflect how good he is.
"To beat him I have to get everything right -- he's closer than last year," added Rosberg.