Michael Schumacher has announced his retirement from F1 at the end of the season. The speculation he may drive for Sauber next season, or even more fanciful suggestions he could return to Ferrari, has been put to bed. The Old Man of F1 is heading home to his wife and children. These are his words:
“It is probably not a complete surprise to explain a little bit on how my thoughts are on this. Basically I have decided to retire by the end of the year.
Although I am still able and capable to compete with the best drivers that are around, at some point it is good to say goodbye – and that is what I am doing this season. This time it might even be forever.
During the past month, I was not sure if I still had the motivation and energy which is necessary to go on. It is not my style to do something that I am not 100 per cent feeling for. With today’s decision, I feel released from those doubts and in the end my ambition to fight for victories and the pleasure of driving is nourished by competitiveness.
It is without doubt that we did not achieve our goals to develop a world championship fighting car. But it is also very clear that I can still be very happy about my overall achievements in the whole time of my career.
In the past six years I have learned a lot about myself. For example, that you can open yourself without losing focus. That losing can be both more difficult and more instructive than winning. Sometimes I lost sight of this in the early years. But you appreciate to be able to do what you love to do. That you should live your convictions and I was able to do so.
I would obviously like to thank Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, the team, the engineers, and all my mechanics for all the trust that they put in those years in to myself. But I would also like to thank all of my friends, partners and companions who over many years in motor sport supported myself.
But most of all I would like to thank Corinna, and my family for standing always by my side, giving me the freedom to live my conviction and share my joy. That is very special.
I would like now to concentrate until the end of the season for the last races, and enjoy them together with you. Let’s have fun.
Like him or loathe him – and many do in equal measures – he leaves a big hole to be filled. Let’s see what happens on the driver market now…..