Michael Schumacher is facing a busy new year, as the seven-time worldchampion has confirmed he is making a Formula One return with Mercedes.It was no secret that the former Ferrari ace was itching tocome out of retirement to race in motorsport’s premier league again,and now he has agreed a three-year deal with the German squad. At 41,Schu will be the oldest driver on the grid, but he’s certainly notplanning to make up the numbers.'Our aim can only be to fightfor the championship,' he said. 'I was tired of F1 by the end of 2006,but after three years away I am getting back all the energy and I feelstrong right now.'His contract with Mercedes is a dreamticket. Firstly, there’s the chance to be a part of the firm’sall-German Silver Arrows programme, alongside the already confirmedNico Rosberg. Secondly, it reunites Michael with Ross Brawn – thetechnical maestro behind his glory days at Benetton and Ferrari, aswell as Jenson Button’s 2009 title. Whispers of Schumacher’sreturn started shortly after Mercedes announced it was taking acontrolling share in Brawn GP. Ferrari then fuelled the fire by sayingit was happy to release Schu from his consultancy role with the firm.The deal was sealed following an announcement by his doctors thatSchumacher’s neck was fully healed following injuries sustained duringa motorbike accident early last year.Grand Prix colleaguesweren’t surprised by the 91-time race winner’s decision to make acomeback. 'The flame is still there,' said fellow countryman and VirginGP driver Timo Glock. 'It’s still burning. 'It will be ahighlight, and with Mercedes, you have a German driver in a Germancar.' Former team-mate Eddie Irvine had no doubts. 'Michael has beenkarting since he was four or five, so he knows nothing else,' added theUlsterman. 'Trying motorcycle racing recently was madness for him as hewasn’t very good and wasn’t getting paid. But F1 makes sense.' Irvineexpects him to be competitive, too. 'The speed will be there, althoughhe won’t be as fast as he was,” he said. He’s still good enoughto win races. It’s still four wheels, a steering wheel and an engine –and there has never been anyone better than Michael.'