Michael Schumacher sure to race on next year

Seven-times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher said he will race on next season despite being...

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Seven-times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher said he will race on next season despite being eclipsed by 24-year-old fellow German Sebastian Vettel.

"I've always had the option to stop at any moment I wanted," the 42-year-old told reporters at the British Grand Prix on Thursday.

"I'm here for a fixed target, a three-year program, and that is what it is."

Schumacher is in the second season of his comeback with Mercedes after ending three years in retirement that began when he left Ferrari in 2006.

The German has yet to stand on the podium since he returned and has watched Red Bull's Vettel take last year's drivers' title and win six of the eight races so far in 2011.

Vettel's domination has drawn obvious comparisons with that of Schumacher in 2004, when the older German won a record 13 races.

"Records are there to be broken by whoever, and Sebastian is on the way," observed Schumacher of the youngster whose early career drew the moniker 'Baby-Schumi'.

"I just have good feelings about this," he added of Vettel's phenomenal run of success.

"Seeing him, how he has developed, it relates to the story of how I made Formula One popular in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Germany</country-region>, increasing the interest for the motor industry that has supported these young kids to get their chance.

"He took his, has learned from everything he could, and it is great to watch that."

With occasional rain showers mixed in with bright spells on Thursday, Schumacher said he hoped for wet conditions on Sunday.

"In the rain we could talk about a podium, whereas in the dry, although we might have an improvement in the car, a podium would be out of reach," said the three-times British Grand Prix winner who finished a lowly 17th in the European Grand Prix in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Valencia</country-region> last month -- his worst F1 result.

"Having a home race - which most of the teams do have - with the guys working very hard, I'd like to give them some pleasure, some fun, a good moment," he added.

"We have a Sunday evening barbecue where we all meet up, so it would be great to head to that with something in my hands."