Brazilian GP: Schumacher wants to savour farewell at Interlagos
By Berthold Bouman
Michael Schumacher is another driver who will say farewell to his team as he will retire from the sport for the second time after the last race of the season at Interlagos, but this time his farewell will be for good. The German seven-times World Champion reckons his second retirement will this time not be as emotional as it was in 2006.
“My departure from Formula One will probably be less emotional for me this time than in 2006, when we were still fighting for the championship and everything was much more intense. This time round, I will be able to pay more attention to my farewell and hopefully savour it too,” said Schumacher.
About his three years with Mercedes he said, “I have had fantastic years in Formula One and a lot of support from fans around the world, and I wish to particularly thank them for that. Of course, I would be happiest if I could say goodbye with a strong race, and I am sure we will be doing everything we can to make it happen.”
Interlagos is one of his favourite circuits and he is actually looking forward to the last race of his Formula One career, “Interlagos is the right place to round off my career because so much of the fascination of Formula One is rooted there. I always enjoy the enthusiasm of the fans, and it’s simply a great circuit which has seen many memorable events and always produces spectacular races as the unique layout guarantees plenty of action.”
Team Principal Ross Brawn expects it will be an emotional weekend for his Mercedes team, “With the last race of the season in Brazil also bringing Michael’s second and final retirement from Formula One, it will be an emotional weekend for everyone in the team. We have both greatly enjoyed and benefited from working with Michael over the past three years, and I would like to pay tribute to his enduring commitment, passion and team spirit.”
Of course, Brawn knows Schumacher like no other and has worked with him at Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes, and witnessed the German win an incredible seven World Championships, and he said, “Having worked with Michael for the majority of the 21 seasons of his career, I feel that he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Formula One driver of all time, and we wish him the very best with his future plans.”
Mercedes Motorsport Director Norbert Haug agreed with Brawn and said, “This weekend will also mark the final Formula One race of Michael Schumacher’s career and we must thank him both for his committed contribution to the building-up process of our team and also his performances on track.” And he added, “Michael isn’t just the most successful racing driver in the world but also the best known; his ability and character are admired around the globe.”
And indeed, Schumacher still has a huge fan base, and although some wouldn’t classify him as ‘the greatest’ Formula One driver ever, the now 43-year old driver won seven Drivers’ Championships and 91 races, scored 68 pole positions, 155 podium places and after the Brazilian Grand Prix will have participated in 308 Grands Prix.
Unfortunately his return to the sport with Mercedes turned out to be the toughest three years of his career, as Mercedes wasn’t fast enough to win races, his only highlight was a third place this season during the European Grand Prix at Valencia, and his team mate Nico Rosberg has outperformed him at many occasions, nevertheless, Schumacher truly enjoyed his return, but after three years it’s time to say goodbye.
Ciao Michael Schumacher!