What a Christmas present for Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1 now has a classic script for the 2010 season! More than one gift actually because it's not just the return of the "Kaiser", it will be the return of the German national team, silver arrows, German drivers vs the Brits vs the latin at Ferrari, you get the picture and it will be a fantastic season to watch. But, then again nobody is doubting Bernie has been busy in Santa's workshop making this deal happen.
Beyond the huge sporting consideration and the easy headlines, how does the same Formula 1 that has just finished decimating the jobs of thousands in the name of cost savings, that just today FIA president Todt called F1 "too expensive", a motor industry facing disaster, can justify the cost of Mercedes' operation. In fact Mercedes is likely not to pay a dime for Schumacher's services next season. Schumacher's salary, seven million Euro, turns out to be more than twice what had been rumored but it's likely just a fraction of what the colossal deal Schumacher and his manager Willi Weber's marketing machine must have put together for this
If that seven million Euro salary is coming from sponsor Petronas it is certain that Mercedes gave Schumi full freedom to manage his own endorsements so you will see him sporting a DVAG hat and continue his personal endorsement deals with Bacardi, Omega and Schubert among others but he will "own" the space on his race suit and the merchandizing.
Bild estimated the "real estate" costs, arms: 3 million euro/year, chest: 5 million, cap 7 million. It gets cheaper below the belt, 1 million per leg. No word on how much Bernie's special spot goes for...