Japanese GP: Schumacher retirement
Schumacher’s future in the sport had been a topic of conversation all week. Mercedes’ signing of Lewis Hamilton to partner Nico Rosberg in 2013 brought to an end Schumacher’s tenure with the Brackley-based team but the lack of any retirement announcement from the German driver had given rise to speculation that he was seeking a drive elsewhere. Most notably, Schumacher was linked with the seat at Sauber soon to be vacated by Sergio Pérez.
Schumacher scotched those rumours today, announcing from the Mercedes team building that this season would be his last in Formula One. The 43 year-old will therefore not break the record for grand prix starts currently held by Rubens Barrichello.
“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; and it is not my style to do anything which I am not 100% convinced about,” said Schumacher. “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.”
Tribute was paid to the departing champion by his team. “I feel very proud, honoured and privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Michael so closely,” said team principal Ross Brawn. “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.”
Schumacher’s statement specified retirement from Formula One. It did not mention other forms of motorsport.