Schumacher announces second retirement from Formula One

For the second time is his established Formula One career, Michael Schumacher has confirmed he will retire from the sport come the season’s end.

The seven-time world champion made the announcement in the build-up to this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Schumacher, who has raced in over 300 races, scoring 91 victories and 68 pole position over 21 years of racing, has called time on his Formula One career. His decision was influenced by last week’s news announcement that Lewis Hamilton has joined the Mercedes team from next year.

Speaking of his decision, Schumacher said: “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.”

The 43-year-old German added that he had felt his energy and enthusiasm had begun to wane, just as it did when he quit Ferrari and the sport the first time at the end of 2006.

“I have been thinking for quite a while [about this],” he said. “We had a three-year agreement, hard to keep motivation and energy – it’s natural you think about this more than when you are young.

“I have had my doubts for quite a while whether I had energy to [carry on]. I said in 2006 my battery was empty and now I am in the red zone. I don’t know if there is time to recharge them – but I am looking forward to my freedom.

“I have no hard feelings. In a different way we achieved a great deal…

“Now I will do exactly as I did the first time – to finish and focus 100 per cent on what I do.”

Schumacher originally retired from Formula One in 2006 – to make way for Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari – then returned with Mercedes in 2010. His place at the team has now been taken over by Lewis Hamilton from 2013.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said it was an “emotional day” as Schumacher made public his decision.

“We have enjoyed so many experiences together during our time at Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes, and I feel very proud, honoured and privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Michael so closely.

“In my opinion, he is the greatest Formula One driver, and the records which he holds in our sport speak volumes for his success and commitment. On behalf of everyone at our Silver Arrows team, we wish Michael all the best with his future plans and extend our sincere thanks to him for his commitment, passion and hard work during our three years together.

“We have not achieved the results that we would have wished during this time; however Michael’s contribution to our development and the future of our team has been significant. Whatever Michael decides to do next, I am sure that he will be keeping a close eye on our progress in the years to come.”

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice president Norbert Haug said: “Michael began his professional racing career in 1989 as a member of the Mercedes Junior Team in Group C Prototypes, and he will conclude it at the end of this season with our Mercedes AMG Petronas Silver Arrows works team, as he informed first us and then the international media today.

“Michael did a fantastic job during the build-up phase of our still-young Silver Arrows works team and, although we have not yet achieved our targets in our third season, Michael’s invaluable hard work has established the foundations for future success. For this, we give him our thanks and recognition.

“All of us in the team – and first and foremost Michael – are working hard to have six more races in which we can show a respectable level of performance together. Thank you, Michael, for everything: it was, and is, a pleasure to work with you.”

There was speculation that Schumacher might make a move to Sauber, where he began his world championship-level career with the Mercedes-backed Swiss-team’s endurance prototype squad in 1990, but that proved wide of the mark.

And so ends the ‘second’ career of Michael Schumacher. After three years racing for Silver Arrows, with his best result so far being that third-place finish at Valencia in 2012 plus that great ‘pole’ lap at Monaco – only to receive a five-place grid penalty – his ‘comeback’ to Formula One hasn’t been as successful as his first.

It would be fitting for the 43-year-old German to sign off the final six races on a high by scoring some championship points to help Mercedes in the constructors’ standings. Plus a good way to demonstrate to his worldwide fans that he still has the passion to race. But his time to compete against the rise of young and upcoming stars means that this decision was for the best.

5 thoughts to “Schumacher announces second retirement from Formula One”

  1. Nico Rosberg’s view on his Mercedes team-mate. Taken courtesy from Mercedes AMG Petronas.

    This is a big loss for our sport. Michael did a huge amount to make Formula One so popular in Germany, and lots of fans switched on their TV sets because of him. He achieved so much. It has been and continues to be something special and a great experience for me to drive with him and against him.

    In the last three years we pushed the team hard together which will help us in the years to come. I wish him all the best for the future.

  2. Michael Schumacher says he feels a sense of ‘relief’ after announcing his retirement from Formula 1.

    After weeks of speculation about his future plans intensified following Mercedes’ decision to sign Lewis Hamilton for 2013, Schumacher revealed on Thursday that he would not be continuing in F1 after the end of this campaign.

    And rather than be sad about the tough decision he has had to take, Schumacher said he felt some excitement that he could now look forward to a rest after his three years back in the sport.

    “If [anything] at all, it is relief,” he explained. “We had a three-year agreement and already it was hard work for me to keep the motivation and keep the energy and always go forward.

    “With all that I have achieved, it is natural that you think about it a little bit more than maybe being young. So in a way how things have developed, I am actually very pleased.

    “I have always been informed by the team, so I knew what was going on and I am quite happy that things have developed in this direction and I am free to get back the freedom I had before.”

    He added: “I told you at the time [of my first retirement] in 2006 that my battery was empty, and [now] I am on the red zone with my batteries.

    “I was not sure if I could recharge them with the time we have available or not, and I felt it is time for freedom again.”

    Schumacher said the final call on his future was made after Hamilton committed to Mercedes last week – as up until that point he was unsure of his own desires.

    “The special moment in a way was obviously that the team found an option with Lewis that sort of helped me find that decision,” he said when asked about what was the key factor in him reaching a conclusion on his plans.

    “Obviously there was an option for me to do so at an earlier stage and I was in the picture when there was the negotiation going on, but I didn’t want to decide.

    “I wasn’t sure about myself, so it is like this. Sometimes in life your destiny will develop by itself and so it did. But without any hard feelings and without any regrets.”


  3. Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn has hailed Michael Schumacher as the ‘driver of the century’. Article courtesy from

    Mercedes boss Ross Brawn says Michael Schumacher deserves the label as ‘driver of the century’ – even though his comeback did not achieve the high targets that were set.

    Schumacher returned to F1 in 2010 hoping to be gunning for championship glory, but in three campaigns he has so far been fastest in qualifying once and only delivered a single podium finish.

    Nevertheless, Brawn believes that Schumacher’s contribution to the team and the sport should not be underestimated.

    “I think he is the greatest racing driver of this century,” explained Brawn at the press conference where Schumacher announced his retirement.

    “I was very privileged to work with Michael from the very beginning and obviously we had some fantastic times, tough times too, but also very successful times.

    “I think Michael brought a lot to the team in this second period that people don’t see. There was a huge contribution behind the scenes.

    “We have not achieved what we wanted to achieve together, and that is frustrating, but I think what we do achieve in the future, Michael will have made a contribution to it. So for me personally, [that is why] he is the greatest racing driver of this century.”

    Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug was also full of praise for the way Schumacher had applied himself to the job – even though success was hard to achieve.

    “He gave it everything. He never complained, and he was a constructive guy,” said Haug. “I learned from this ‘new’ Michael in his second career even more than in the first, because he was successful and we were friends and we are friends.”

    Brawn said that Mercedes did discuss future plans with Schumacher – but in the end it was unable to reach an agreement because of issues over the potential length of the deal.

    “Michael was well aware and kept informed, and we discussed our options with him,” explained Brawn. “Michael was considering the situation, and you have to remember that if there was an agreement reached it wouldn’t just be for one year, we needed a longer agreement than that.

    “So it evolved as a mutual decision. It suited everyone to make the decision that we did but, of course, Lewis took some time before he made his mind up on what he wanted to do. There were no conflicts or decisions in the process, it evolved very smoothly.

    “Michael kept us aware, kept me very aware of his feelings and his thoughts, and we discussed the way that decisions were going, or discussions were going, and I think the important thing for the team is someone of the calibre of Lewis does not become available every day. That was an important factor that came into it.”

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