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BERLIN - Formula One commercial rights boss Bernie Ecclestone, says he believes German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, rather than compatriot Michael Schumacher could be the next world champion.
Seven-time world champion Schumacher, who turns 41 on January 3, stunned Formula One by coming out of retirement to sign a three-year, 30-million-dollar deal with Mercedes.
"I'm saying it well in advance, but for me, Vettel will be the next world champion," Ecclestone told the daily Bild yesterday.
Vettel, 22, finished second last season with four wins.
"Schumacher will have many rivals such as (Lewis) Hamilton, (Fernando) Alonso and above all Vettel," said Ecclestone, who admitted he was "very, very happy" with Schumacher's return.
Meanwhile, Schumacher's younger brother Ralf, revealed he too was considering a return to Formula One. - Sapa-AFP