Schumacher: No 2013 talks yet
Michael Schumacher says he and Mercedes haven't yet started talking about a possible new contract, insisting their current focus is the present.
Last Updated: 23/05/12 5:44pm
Michael Schumacher says he and Mercedes haven't yet begun discussions over whether or not he continues racing in Formula 1 next season.
The seven-times World Champion committed to a three-year contract when he came out of retirement to join the rebranded Mercedes works outfit in 2010 and that deal expires at the end of the current 20-race campaign.
Although Mercedes' step forward this season saw Schumacher produce his best qualifying performances of his comeback in the opening trio of races - culminating in his return to the front row in China - reliability problems and race collisions have combined to leave him with a meagre two points on the board after five races, his worst ever return at this stage of an F1 season.
His collision with Bruno Senna at the last race in Spain - which saw him penalised with a five-place grid penalty by stewards for this weekend's Monaco GP - and recent criticism of Pirelli's current brand of tyres has served to restart the rumour mill over what the 43-year-old's future might hold into 2013.
That speculation was fuelled earlier this week when Mercedes CEO Nick Fry told Sky Sports News that Force India's Paul di Resta, a former junior protégé of the German manufacturer in DTM, was "on our radar" and would be one of the drivers they would look at should Schumacher call it quits, while Lewis Hamilton has also been linked to the team.
Schumacher was asked the inevitable question about his future during his appearance in Wednesday's drivers' press conference in Monte Carlo, but insisted he and Mercedes continued to solely focus on the present.
"The decision [over when they will discuss his future] hasn't really changed," he said.
"So far we're not focusing on what happens next year or in future.
"It's more about what happens right now [before] the team and myself get together. So there's no news unfortunately yet for you."
The 91-time Grand Prix winner's chances of kick-starting his season have already been compromised this weekend by the five-place grid penalty, meaning the German will start Sunday's race from no higher than sixth position.
Monaco's tight and twisty streets are notoriously difficult to overtake on but Schumacher is taking comfort from what he expects will be a strong Mercedes W03 package and his own comeback drive around the Principality in 2006, when he came from the very back of the grid to finish fifth.
"Basically I think we're going to be in a position to be competitive. As a general track profile, I think it's going to suit ourselves," said the five-time winner of the prestigious Monaco event.
"And indeed I've been at the complete back [of the grid] and come through to fifth position I think and let's see from where I manage to finally qualify and start the race and what can be done.
"It's certainly not ideal, but it is what it is, and I'm going to look forward to have some excitement pretty certainly."