Michael Schumacher retires from Formula One at the end of the season
By Berthold Bouman
Michael Schumacher has announced his retirement from Formula One today during a press conference ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. Last week Mercedes hired 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton for the next three years, and Schumacher has decided to call it quits rather than to seek a new employer for 2013.
“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,” the seven-times Formula One World Champion said this morning.
“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,” he added.
His retirement is not an entire surprise, although there have been strong rumours the German would sign for Sauber and take over the car of Sergio Perez who will drive for McLaren next year, or that he would return to the Formula One love of his life: Scuderia Ferrari.
But Schumacher doesn’t regret his decision to make a comeback to the sport for Mercedes in 2010, nor does he regret his second retirement, as he thinks he has learned a lot in the past six years, and feels he has become a better person as well.
“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.”
Of course Schumacher thanked Mercedes and Daimler for the opportunities he was given at the Mercedes team, but also thanked his wife Corinna. “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.”
Schumacher, who is in fact a record holder of Formula One records, did not say anything about his future plans, but simply wants to enjoy the remainder of the season, “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!”