Mercedes had a plan when it announced its motorsport comeback in January 1988. It stretched far beyond its immediate return to the circuits in the World Sports-Prototype Championship and the DTM that season.
Formula 1 was very much in the plan for Mercedes, and it was going to do it with its own team racing Silver Arrows and with German-speaking drivers on its books. Which explains the German manufacturer's junior programme of 1990-91 that introduced Michael Schumacher, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger to the wider world.
Mercedes didn't talk about F1 when it ended an exile from the circuits that stretched all the way back to the end of 1955 and a decision made in the wake of that year's Le Mans 24 Hours disaster. Nor did it reveal what it had in the plan for the trio of tyros when it kicked off the junior programme over the 1989/90 off-season.