Mercedes has no plans to turn its back on Formula One and remains fully committed to the sport despite a disappointing first year back as a works team, company boss Dieter Zetsche has said.
Zetsche told news agency DPA that the team's distant fourth-placed finish in this year's championship was in line with expectations.
"On the one hand, we can't have expected more as a newly formed team," he said. "We would not have complained if we had won the championship, of course, but it wasn't a realistic expectation. We have been in F1 for some time and we're staying there for the longer term.
"We don't want to be deciding each year whether we are in or out. And we didn't sign a one-year contract with Michael Schumacher, we signed for three years."
Seven-time world champion Schumacher failed to reach the heights he had set himself earlier in his career in his comeback year, but he did put in some strong performances towards the end of the season. Zetsche defended the German's performances.