Seven-Time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher Announces Second Retirement
Mercedes F1 driver MICHAEL SCHUMACHER "will retire from F1 at the end of the season," according to the DPA. The seven-time world champion announced his retirement prior to this weekend's Grand Prix of Japan in Suzuka. Schumacher ends all speculations about a possible move to another team (DPA, 10/4). The PA wrote that Schumacher's seat at Mercedes will be taken by McLaren's LEWIS HAMILTON in '13, and "with a dearth of other options available to him he has opted to quit the sport at the age of 43." Schumacher said, "I have decided to retire at the end of the season. I still feel I am capable of competing against the best but the time sometimes comes to say goodbye and this time it might be forever." He added: "I had been thinking about whether I had the necessary motivation to carry on but I do not want to do something I am not 100% committed to. Having made the decision I now feel a release." Schumacher, "his voice breaking with emotions," was flanked by Mercedes Team Principal ROSS BRAWN and Mercedes Motorsport Dir NORBERT HAUG as he made his announcement. Schumacher's first stint in F1, between '91-06 "saw him rewrite the sport's record books, winning seven world titles and 91 races." He will be best remembered for helping to revive Ferrari's fortunes after joining the "Prancing Horse" in '96 as part of the "Dream Team" along with Brawn, JEAN TODT, RORY BYRNE and PAOLO MARTINELLI, winning five straight titles between '00-04. Schumacher "retired at the end of '06, but was convinced to make a comeback with the Mercedes team" in '10 by close friend Brawn (PA, 10/4).
MOVING FORWARD: In London, Giles Richards reported Schumacher said of his future plans: "I have options, and you know some of the options, but we will decide when the time is there." Brawn, who described Schumacher as the "greatest racing driver of this century," had suggested to the BBC last week that "there may be a role for him at Mercedes." Brawn said, "We would like him to stay involved with Mercedes. There is a lot of things he can contribute -- perhaps on the racing car side but certainly on the road car side and I think that is something he would enjoy a great deal" (GUARDIAN, 10/4). The SID wrote that Schumacher's former Manager WILLI WEBER describes his decision to retire at the end of the season as "absolutely rational." Weber thinks that Schumacher "will stay connected to Mercedes." Weber said, "I guess he will take on the role of brand ambassador for Mercedes. However, he's an adrenaline junkie who needs his fixes" (SID, 10/4).