I'm intrigued by this constant assurance that 'Michael returns more to the team than they pay him' as I doubt he is doing that right now. They didn't hire him to sell some t-shirts, they hired him to win races, and challenge for the championship. No matter how much anyone tries to dress it up, or put a positive spin on it, it hasn't worked out as intended at all. Whatever you may think it is results that interest investors, and no matter what the driver is called and what he has delivered in the past if those results are not forthcoming his value is seriously diminished. Put it this way - say Mercedes do opt not to take up the option for next year, are the rest of the teams going to come banging on his door, desperate for him to join them? Five years ago, maybe, but now? They're not are they?
This isn't football where a team signs an aging Beckham for the publicity and shirt sales. Mercedes objective is a lot more complex than that. They need to appeal to the right demographics....M Schumacher in 2010 is associated with the words "slow" unsporting" "arrogant" and "old". Hardly the qualities a marketing executive rubs his/her hands to. Merc definitely are getting exposure now but all for the wrong reasons. In fact Rosberg hasn't gained anything from this season...he has beaten M Schumacher so easily that question marks still remain regarding what he could do alongside a top driver. I think Merc requires a younger, quicker more positive driver that can push the team forward with Rosberg. A bit like what Kubica is doing with Renault.