Saturday 24 March 2018

F1: Schumacher has no regrets after bowing out for second time

The 43-year-old has lost his seat for 2013 to Lewis Hamilton and has opted to walk away.
The 43-year-old has lost his seat for 2013 to Lewis Hamilton and has opted to walk away.

Andrew Gwilym

Michael Schumacher's voice cracked with emotion as Formula One's most successful driver announced his second retirement, admitting he had nothing left to give.

The 43-year-old has lost his seat for 2013 to Lewis Hamilton, and with a limited range of options available for him to stay in F1, he has opted to walk away, announcing his decision on the eve of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix meeting.

And the German spoke of his relief at making the decision to stop racing.

"I have decided to retire at the end of the season," he said. "I still feel capable of competing against the best but the time sometimes comes to say goodbye and this time it might be forever.

"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 100pc committed to. Having made the decision I now feel a release.

"It's not painful. It is a relief to me, I have done so much in this sport but when the battery is going low the first time, and then it is doing so again, and I am older, it (retirement) is something I am looking forward to.

"There are plenty of other things in life and now is the time to change."

Schumacher's first stint in F1, between 1991 and 2006, saw him rewrite the record books, winning seven world titles and 91 races.

His crowning achievement was helping to revive Ferrari's fortunes after joining the Prancing Horse in 1996 as part of the 'Dream Team' along with Ross Brawn, Jean Todt, Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli, winning five titles between 2000 and 2004.

He retired at the end of 2006, but was convinced to make a comeback with the Mercedes team in 2010 by close friend Brawn.

However, his return to the sport he once ruled has not been a success and he has taken just one podium finish over the last three seasons, that result coming at Valencia earlier this year.

There had been suggestions Schumacher would join Sauber -- for whom he raced sportscars in the late 1980s and early 1990s -- in 2013, but he has instead opted to end his career.

Schumacher admitted Hamilton's move acted as a spur in helping him decide to hang up his helmet.

"The team had an option in Lewis that helped me decide," he said.

"I was in the picture when negotiations were going on but I was not sure about myself. Sometimes in life your destiny will develop by itself, I do not have any hard feelings or regrets."

Irish Independent

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