F1: Bernie Ecclestone says Michael Schumacher return was a mistake
FORMULA One supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes Michael Schumacher made a mistake in returning to the sport with Mercedes.
The 43-year-old German, who won a record seven world titles and 91 grands prix, originally retired at the end of the 2006 season.
Schumacher was tempted back to the sport by the German marque in 2010, but managed just one podium finish in his three seasons with the Silver Arrows before hanging up his helmet for good at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
And Ecclestone feels Schumacher damaged his legacy with his comeback.
Speaking to the official Formula One website, Ecclestone said: "I would rather he had stopped as a seven-time world champion than stopping now.
"People new to the sport - people who have joined the F1 fan fraternity just recently - will remember Michael now, not as he was.
"They don't see the hero that he was but the human that can fail. I think the important thing is - and this is probably difficult - to know when you can't do what you used to do anymore and then hand it over to somebody else.
"I hope that's what I can do: when I feel I can't deliver, I will certainly say goodbye."
But Ecclestone acknowledged Schumacher will be a loss to the F1 paddock.
He said: "He enjoyed racing and was there helping to do good things for Formula 1.
"We will miss Michael, because even though he wasn't winning races in those three years, he is still very popular."