Michael Schumacher’s buoyant confidence about the Mercedes team’s prospects for the upcoming F1 world championship season spilled over this week, to the point where the 41-year old predicted that the former Brawn squad would be in a position to challenge for the world championship in 2010.

Which, translated, means that he thinks he will be able to bid for an amazing eighth title crown.

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Schumacher is certainly cast in the role of F1’s Peter Pan, although rather than being the little boy who never grew up, he is more the young man who never grew old. It’s not just his motivation which seems quite extraordinary, but the fact that he has kept himself fit and well-toned throughout three years of retirement out of the F1 game.

Looking for weak points in the Schumacher psyche may be a fruitless effort. But I was interested to hear from a good friend that the legendary Mario Andretti, having won the 1978 world championship at the age of 38, was aware as he went into his forties that it took slightly longer to recover to peak form for consecutive races.