Rumours persist that Michael Schumacher's full-time return to F1 this year was in the making long ago.

The official story is that Brackley based Brawn, later taken over and renamed by Mercedes, wanted to retain 2009 world champion Jenson Button this year.

The Briton's controversial switch to McLaren was announced on November 18, just over two weeks after the end of the season.

When asked about the timing of his talks with team boss Ross Brawn, Schumacher told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "We were talking since about June, but mostly it was joking than anything else.

"Serious proposals were made after the end of the season," the German added.

Asked about the same timing issue by Bild newspaper, 41-year-old Schumacher said: "The start was after the last race in Abu Dhabi.

"It was at the celebration dinner with a good cigar. I said to him 'Are you sure you want to ask this question seriously?' And then he said 'If you are motivated, I have absolutely no concerns'," explained the record winner of 91 grands prix.

Schumacher also told the German newspaper that Brawn inquired about his interest in returning to F1 "two years ago" and "one year ago".

"But I was not ready then. Before last season, he told me everything about (the withdrawal of) Honda, the installation of the Mercedes engine. I politely listened and then said 'Have fun with it!'" Schumacher added.



Gallery: Schu insists Mercedes talks began after 2009 season