Formula One: Vettel hoping Schumacher keeps racing

Red Bull's German champion Sebastian Vettel is backing compatriot Michael Schumacher to stay in Formula One, even though the seven-time former world titleholder is out of contract at the end of the season.

Schumacher returned to F1 in 2010 after a four-year hiatus, but his Mercedes seat was last week handed to Britain's Lewis Hamilton, who was lured away from McLaren by the appeal of a fresh challenge.

Vettel, 25, says there should always be a place for the 43-year-old legend in the sport and he hopes Schumacher is offered a place by one of the other teams.

"He is the biggest name there is in Formula One," Vettel told German daily Bild.

"It is always fun to race against him and it would be great to see him again next year.

"I would be delighted, but that's Michael's decision and he must consider things."

Since Mercedes announced their decision not to extend his contract, Schumacher has been considering his future and he is clearly not short of options.

"Of course it would be a great idea, and it is certainly worth a thought, to sign a a seven-time world champion if he is free on the market," said Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn.

"But Michael has experience with several big teams who aren't comparable with us."

But Ferrari star Fernando Alonso believes Sauber's fast car would be a good fit for Schumacher.

"Schumi would have already won three races this year with Sauber," said the Spaniard, with Schumacher having finished just once on the podium in 2012.