Belfast Telegraph

Michael Schumacher announces retirement from Formula One

By Andrew Gwilym

Michael Schumacher will retire from Formula One for the second time at the end of the season.

Michael Schumacher will retire from Formula One for the second time at the end of the season.

Schumacher's seat at Mercedes will be taken by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in 2013, and with a dearth of other options available to him he has opted to quit the sport at the age of 43.

He said: "I have decided to retire at the end of the season. I still feel I am capable of competing against the best but the time sometimes comes to say goodbye and this time it might be forever."

He added: "I had been thinking about whether I had the necessary motivation to carry on but I do not want to do something I am not 100 per cent committed to. Having made the decision I now feel a release."

Schumacher's first stint in F1, between 1991 and 2006 saw him rewrite the sport's record books, winning seven world titles and 91 races.

He will be best remembered for helping to revive Ferrari's fortunes after joining the Prancing Horse in 1996 as part of the 'Dream Team' along with Ross Brawn, Jean Todt, Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli, winning five straight titles between 2000 and 2004.

He retired at the end of 2006, but was convinced to make a comeback with the Mercedes team in 2010 by close friend Brawn.

However, his return to the sport he once ruled has not been a success and he has taken just one podium finish over the last three seasons, that result coming at Valencia earlier this year.

There had been suggestions Schumacher would join Sauber, for whom he raced sportscars in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in 2013, but he has instead opted to stop racing.

Schumacher, his voice breaking with emotion, was flanked by Brawn and Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug as he made his announcement.

And Haug paid a glowing tribute to Schumacher.

He said: "I thank Michael. We have known each other a long time, we started together in Group C racing and he went on to be the most successful driver in Formula One, winning more races and titles than any other driver.

"We were competitors against him (when Schumacher was at Ferrari with Mercedes supplying McLaren with engines) and we had always dreamed of working together and it came after Brawn Mercedes won the World Championship in 2009.

"We did not achieve what we wanted to but Michael has laid some strong foundations and I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart."



Michael Schumacher factfile

1969: Born on January 3 in Huerth-Hermuelheim, Germany.

1973: Makes his racing debut in a karting event.

1987: Wins German and European kart championships.

1988: Finishes fourth in German Formula Ford championship and is second in the European series in his first year of car racing.

1990: Wins first major single-seater title, clinching the German Formula Three crown. Steps up to sportscars, driving for Mercedes.

1991: Makes Formula One debut for Jordan in Belgium, qualifying seventh before retiring. Poached by Benetton for the rest of the season.

1992: Takes first grand prix win in Belgium on his way to third in the championship.

1994: Wins title, with eight wins to his name, after controversial last-race clash with Damon Hill in Australia.

1995: Retains world crown, taking nine victories.

1996: Moves to struggling Ferrari and manages three wins on his way to third in the championship.

1997: Wins five races but is stripped of second in the championship for attempting to take out title rival Jacques Villeneuve at Jerez.

1999: Breaks his leg at Silverstone when easily leading the championship.

2000: Finally wins Ferrari's first drivers' title since 1979, amassing nine wins on the way.

2001: Another nine wins and another title, setting a new record for all-time victories.

2002: Wins championship in record time, setting a new mark of 11 victories.

2003: Wins title by a point after six victories, breaking Juan Manuel Fangio's record of five championships.

2004: Breaks his own record for wins in a season, 13, to take title number seven.

2006: September 10 - Announces his retirement at end of 2006 season after winning Italian Grand Prix.

2009: July 29 - Announces plans to make a shock return to F1 with Ferrari, deputising for Felipe Massa until the Brazilian recovers from injuries suffered in an accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

August 11 - Forced to abort comeback due to a neck injury sustained in a motorbike accident in February.

December 23 - Signs a three-year contract to drive for Mercedes GP, ending three years in retirement.

2010: Makes his return to F1 in Bahrain and finishes the season in ninth, with a highest finish of fourth.

2011: Betters his previous season with an eighth-placed finish and 96 points, with a fourth in Canada his best result.

2012: Returns to the podium for the first time since his retirement, finishing third in the European grand prix.

October 4: Announces he will be retiring from the sport at the end of the season.

The best and worst of Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher, Formula One's most successful driver, has announced he will retire for the second and final time at the end of the season.

His 19 seasons at the top have seen him rewrite the record book and the rule book. Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the best and worst of Schumacher's career.

FIVE OF THE BEST

1991: Qualifies a stunning seventh for his grand prix debut with the unfancied Jordan team.

1994: Manages an heroic second place in Spain despite racing for 40 laps stuck in fifth gear.

1995: Reels in Jean Alesi in the closing stages at the Nurburgring, obliterating a 42-second deficit in 27 laps before passing the Ferrari around the outside on the penultimate lap.

1996: Wins at a wet Barcelona by 45 seconds after annihilating the opposition despite dropping to sixth at the start.

1998: Produces a brilliant run of flying laps at Hungary to make an audacious three-stop strategy work.

2003: Responds to the death of his mother overnight by winning in Imola despite his grief.

FIVE OF THE WORST

1994: After hitting the Adelaide wall and terminally damaging his car, smashes into Damon Hill to secure his first world title.

1997: Cynically slams into Jacques Villeneuve in a failed bid to win the world championship. Is stripped of his second place in the championship by the FIA.

2002: Takes advantage of Ferrari team orders to pass team-mate Rubens Barrichello yards from the chequered flag in Austria for a victory greeted by boos from the crowd.

2002: Inexplicably attempted to engineer a dead heat at Indianapolis, only to lose out to Barrichello by 0.011 seconds.

2006: Parks his Ferrari across the track in Monaco in an attempt to disrupt qualifying and retain pole position. Sent to the back of the grid by stewards.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph