Mercedes is reportedly proposing to pay Michael Schumacher 7 million euros if he agrees to return to F1 as Nico Rosberg's teammate in 2010.
Bild newspaper said the offer, which is the same one offered to Jenson Button prior to the new world champion's switch to McLaren, will be made by the German marque's competition boss Norbert Haug.
Schumacher, 40, made much more money at Ferrari until 2006, and still makes 5m a year as an advisor to the Italian team, but Bild said Mercedes cannot afford to offer the German any more.
Niki Lauda told the newspaper he is certain "money will not play a role" in Schumacher's decision about whether to re-launch his 16-year F1 career.
Mercedes team chief executive Nick Fry said at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco on Thursday that an announcement about Rosberg's teammate is not likely before Christmas.
"We might say something before Christmas, but it's more likely to be the beginning of January," he is quoted as saying by the Times.