After a less-than-glorious return to the sport, seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher has announced his retirement from the pinnacle of motorsports.
Speaking during a press conference ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Schumacher will run out his contract with Mercedes-Benz, finishing the remaining six races of the season.
“Already during the past weeks and months I was not sure if I would still have the motivation and energy which is necessary to go on,” he said, “and it is not my style to do anything which I am not 100% convinced about. With today’s decision I feel released from those doubts. In the end, it is not my ambition to just drive around but to fight for victories; and the pleasure of driving is nourished by competitiveness.”
Criticized for not returning to his winning ways, Schumacher did comment that while hardly a front-runner he is still competing at a level with the very best of the world. “This is something that makes me proud, and this is part of why I never regretted my comeback. I can be happy with my performance and the fact that I was continuously raising my game during the last three years.”
He admitted the reality that he wasn’t in World Champion form, though he was quick to share the blame with Mercedes-Benz. “It is without doubt that we did not achieve our goal to develop a world championship fighting car within those years.”
Still, he comments that, “I can still be very happy about my overall achievements in Formula One.”
Before his comeback Schumacher dominated the sport in a way no other race car driver had, winning 91 races and putting on a particularly impressive performance in his 2004 season, winning 13 of 18 races.
“In my opinion, he is the greatest Formula One driver,” said Mercedes AMG Petronas team principal Ross Brawn, who worked with Schumacher in the past both during his days with Ferrari and Benetton, “and the records which he holds in our sport speak volumes for his success and commitment.