Mercedes GP CEO Nick Fry believes rumors about retired World Champions such as Michael Schumacher returning to Formula 1 are great for the sport, as speculation continues to link Schumacher with Fry's team.
Speaking to reporters at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco, Fry declined to discuss whether Schumacher was in talks with Mercedes, but said the prospect of either the seven-time title winner or 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve – who is openly chasing an F1 comeback – rejoining the fray was fascinating.
"I think whether it be Michael or having another prior World Champion, it just adds another very interesting element," said Fry. "Can someone who's 40 or 41 years old compete against someone who is 24 years old? In other sports, people have proven that they're very capable even at that age, and I think that would add another fascinating aspect.
"It's irrelevant whether it's Michael or Jacques, or I was joking with Mika [Hakkinen] the other day that maybe he should throw his hat in...."
He warned not to expect an announcement about the identity of Nico Rosberg's teammate until early 2010. "We might say something before Christmas but it's more likely to be the beginning of January," Fry said.
He also dismissed suggestions that Mercedes was insisting on an all-German lineup. Nick Heidfeld has also been mooted as a candidate for the team.
"Nationality's literally got nothing to do with this at all," Fry insisted. "Mercedes expressed a preference, that it would be nice to have a driver who was German, and we've got that already with Nico. It wasn't a big deal from the start. It would have been a nice thing to have and we've got that already, so it's completely irrelevant in the decision."
But Fry did reveal that Mercedes' strong preference was to sign an experienced driver rather than a young talent, having been impressed by Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello's consistent scoring for Brawn this year.
"I think we learned very clearly this year that you've got to have two drivers capable of scoring points in every race," he said. "The reason we won the constructors' championship is because we had that. Both drivers did a sensational job and they were both very similar to each other. We knocked in the points at virtually every single race, and you need that.
"With the lack of testing, it's very difficult to expect a younger driver to do that. Clearly highest on our list are people with F1 experience."