Michael Schumacher announces second F1 retirement

2012 F1 season

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2012Michael Schumacher has confirmed he will retire from F1 for the second time at the end of 2012.

“I have decided to retire from Formula One at the end of the season, although I am still able to compete with the best drivers of the world,” said Schumacher in a statement released today.

“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. But then, at some point it is time to say goodbye.

“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; 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.”

“We did not achieve our goal”

“I have said at the end of 2009 that I want to be measured by my success,” added Schumacher, “and this is why I had a lot of criticism in the past three years which partly was justified. It is without doubt that we did not achieve our goal to develop a world championship fighting car within those three years. It is also without doubt that I cannot provide a long term perspective to anyone.”

“But then it is also clear that I can still be very happy about my overall achievements in Formula One.

“In the past six years I have learned a lot, also about me, and I am thankful for it: for example, that you can open yourself up without losing focus. That losing can be both more difficult and more instructive than winning; something I had lost out of sight sometimes in earlier years. That you have to appreciate to be able to do what you love. That you have to live your convictions. I have opened my horizon, and I am at ease with myself.

“I would like to thank Daimler, Mercedes-Benz and the Team for their trust. But I also would like to thank all my friends, partners and companions, who over many good years in motorsport supported me. But most of all I would like to thank my family for standing always by my side, giving me the freedom to live my convictions and sharing my joy.”

“He is the greatest Formula One driver”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Valencia, 2012Schumacher originally retired from F1 at the end of 2006, then returned with Mercedes in 2010. His place at the team has been taken by Lewis Hamilton for 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

“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.”

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152 comments on Michael Schumacher announces second F1 retirement

  1. Shame to see him go so young.
    At his age, Fangio was winning the second of his five championships.

    • Tango (@tango) said on 4th October 2012, 10:48

      The quality of the field was probably lesser at the time though.

      • FlyingLobster27 said on 4th October 2012, 18:08

        I wouldn’t say that, but F1 was much less about perfection back then. Nowadays drivers are very athletic, it takes a lot of physical prep just to get into a car, whereas back in the 50s, you had not very skinny people like José Frolian Gonzalez scoring podiums…

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 4th October 2012, 18:18

          Yeah, a totally different world. The technical aspect of F1 wasn’t there anywhere near like it is now. The changes that now occur even just from one year to the next. The G’s were nowhere near what they are now etc etc.

          I think the one thing the drivers back then had that today’s don’t need nearly as much of, is bravery. Huge bravery. So many drivers died back then, such was the understanding of safety in car and track construction lacking. Those drivers literally took their lives into their own hands, as did spectators too. Not the case today at all, not that a fatality can’t happen, but the odds are so much less that I doubt the drivers do much worrying with a race coming up, whereas in the 50’s many likely wondered if they would survive the race but did it anyway.

    • Mariano (@mariano) said on 4th October 2012, 18:32

      In the 50’s a F1 race lasted more than 3 hours. The physical demand was tremendous. Juan Manuel Fangio was 38 years old when he started racing in F1 and won his first title when he was 40. The quality of the field was excellent. He raced against Moss, Collins, Hawthorn, Bonier, Ascari, Trintignant, Musso, Behra, Brooks, Gregori, von Trips, Schell, Brabhan, Castelloti, Hermann, González and Portago who were all younger than him. Gregori and Brooks were 21 years younger, Collins was 20 years younger, Stirling
      Moss and Hawthorn were 18 years younger, Gregori and Brooks were 21 years younger, Collins was 20 years younger, Stirling Moss and Hawthorn were 18 years younger.

  2. Tango (@tango) said on 4th October 2012, 10:47

    It is without doubt that we did not achieve our goal to develop a world championship fighting car within those three years. It is also without doubt that I cannot provide a long term perspective to anyone.“But then it is also clear that I can still be very happy about my overall achievements in Formula One.

    The man himself says it better than I would. Was his comeback a success ? No. Did it lessen his overall achievments ? Hell no. I never was a Shumi fan (Hakkinen man really) but I really have been enjoying every bit of his come back. He has become to me the proof that you can still be a top sportsman past 40 and the fact that he has only become better each year in those 3 years really is a strong motivation to me.

    I am not as old as Schumi, but having been a quite high wolrd level competitor in my sport and having stopped to find a decent job, I have started again (parallel to my regular work as engineer) at the same time Schumi did and been blown away by the competition. Since, I always find his work back to the top is just a proof that I have to be better and work harder than those who never stopped, and that though I will probably never win again, i can yet enjoy competitively my sport for a long long time to come.

    So Michael Schumacher has become since his comeback a new role model to at least one person. And isn’t it a huge achievment in itself ?

  3. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 4th October 2012, 10:56

    Mixed emotions abut this one. As a fan of Damon HIll’s in the early/mid 90’s MSC was usually the person who spoiled race weekends for me by pulling out a race win from nowhere or because he absolutely dominated the weekend. But since his comeback I no longer view him with contempt. He has been a much more relaxed and seemingly aimiable chap. He may have lost the egde in racing terms, but becoming a bit more “human” in his approach has only served to improve the way I view him. He’ll be missed.

  4. Well, I still kept a bit of hope Schumacher will stay for another year but it was never gonna be with anyone other than Mercedes. Now that all is settled, I’m curious of three things:
    1. Will Michael finally be able to go for 92 before the end of the season? I reckon this would provide him some closure so he’s gonna go for it. That’s for sure.
    2. Will he take the management job at Merc? And if so, will it be just an ambassador position or will he have a say in the team?
    3. This clears the seats at Sauber, since Peter’s team was the only one who seemed willing to take Schumacher on board. Now, Alguersuari and Kovalainen maybe?

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 4th October 2012, 11:33

      Jaime may have lost one competitor for the seat in Schumacher, but he gets Kovalainen in his place. And Pastor Maldonado has also hinted to Will Buxton that he may not be at Williams next year, either. His PDVSA money would be very useful to Sauber next year…

      • I have a feeling Alguersuari already has a contract with Sauber, ever since Perez’s move to McLaren became clear. He’s just waiting for the right moment to make it public. It’s the second seat of Kamui who’s being eyed by Maldonado and Kovalainen, I reckon.

  5. jochenrindt78 (@jochenrindt78) said on 4th October 2012, 12:13

    Good riddance!

    • Tayyib (@m0nzaman) said on 4th October 2012, 12:28

      How can you say that, the man is a legend of this sport and he has proved that over his whole career. He regenerated Ferrari into a competitive team and a winning team.

      Some may say it was the car but there were some races where he showed his talent eg in the wet in barcelona or when he was stuck in 4th gear and bringing the car home. Or his classic battles with Mika Hakkinen and that awe inspiring win in suzuka.

      One of the most grittiest and determined drivers I have ever seen drive in his pomp he would not let any1 pass him easily a true racer and as he proved in his 2nd career a human not a german winning machine.
      Goodbye Micheal

    • Dave (@dworsley) said on 4th October 2012, 12:35

      I’m still hopeful of your retirement.

  6. Eric (@fletch) said on 4th October 2012, 12:31

    Well I’m bummed out.

    I certainly have enjoyed Michael’s second career in F1. He seemed to me to be a driver who knew enough to enjoy what he is doing, have supreme confidence in himself and not come off as arrogant. This is in stark contrast to how I used to perceive him, brash and arrogant.
    I for one will miss him on the grid when I go to Montreal next year. Certainly one of the greatest drivers ever!

  7. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 4th October 2012, 12:32

    Understandable but sad.
    Nice to read he got something from his comeback you wouldn’t expect.

    So long old fox, I’m still rooting for you to win!

  8. Dave (@dworsley) said on 4th October 2012, 12:42

    It’s a pity his final year in Formula 1 contained numerous fundamental driving errors, but at least his innate speed is still apparent. Hope he finishes off well.

  9. Sherlock said on 4th October 2012, 12:49

    Thanks for fantastic 3 years were you showed the real you – a mediocore driver which can be “great” and “unbeatable” only if whole team, tires and even race legislations are helping you.

    There is a saying that star should fall until it is bright, as later noone will believe that it was a star at all.

    Schumachers second career 2010-2012 – a classic example of person who can’t let it go – i hope it will be a lesson for others to think twice before humiliating themselfes infront of their fans.

    P.S. I have 6 races left to heal my wounds you left – let’s do it with music – some crash when “everyone else” brakes faster or something along the line.

  10. Rocky (@rocky) said on 4th October 2012, 12:54

    To get MS out of retirement they must have told him they would build a car/team around him and challenge for the championship.
    MS: “It is without doubt that we did not achieve our goal to develop a world championship fighting car within those three years.”
    I wonder what they told LH? Hold above quote to be posted in another three years.

  11. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 4th October 2012, 12:56

    This man did the impossible and converted me – I’ve truly grown to like him. He might not have won any races or achieved any championships this time round, but for me he is still just as quick as most of the drivers up there now – and I believe he’s won even more fans for it.

    • FlyingLobster27 said on 4th October 2012, 18:26

      He’s not done the impossible: he hasn’t converted me. Reading the comments on here for a while, I know I’m clearly in a minority; I didn’t want Schu to stay on another year.
      I’m mainly fed up with him doing some really silly stuff, making the sort of mistakes even rookies don’t make nowadays (Hungary, Singapore), and yet still getting all the praise where anyone else would be panned. Had it been Karthikeyan who cut in front of Vettel in Spa, we wouldn’t have heard “Narain’s still got some bite in him” from the reigning champ, would we?
      I didn’t want him to do too well anyway – I certainly didn’t want to see 2001, 2002 and 2004 all over again -, but his current form has really been crying “enough”.

  12. Personally I loved schumis comeback…he was the guy I loved to hate in the early 2000’s because he was so damn good. But in his second career I really grew to like him..he now has this perfect balance of being human and f1 legend. I’m a fan of alonso and I appreciate his 2006 champ so much more because he won it against schumacher. He is truly a f1 great. My highlight of his come back has got to be his podium at valencia alongside kimi and alonso, it was great to see how even alonso was pleasantly suprised and happy to see schumacher up next to him on the podium. I hope we see schumi on the podium again in these remaining 6 races with hopefully a victory. Ciao schumi.. 7times a legend.

  13. RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 4th October 2012, 13:06

    When He decided to come I was very sceptical. Alonso had been confirmed at Ferrari, Vettel was clearly a star of the future and Massa could have returned with the same speed as before his accident. However, I am glad MS decided to come back. In his first career I admired his skill if not his attitude. However, I have seen a different side to him on his return and it makes me appreciate how hard he worked and how much he sacrificed to be the best. I firmly believe that MS knew he would only be champion if he had a Brawn 2009 style advantage and was there only for the love of the sport and to convert many fanatics like myself. That for three years to me is acceptable, any longer would have been excessive. As mentioned in the other comments he will be remembered for his greatness not for the mistakes made in this career.

    Which brings me onto SkyF1. A 7-times champion and modern great retires and I’m watching Paul Di Resta in a helicopter. I’d like to be watching highlights of Belgium 97, Hungary 98 and Brazil 06 to remind people that Schumi’s legacy is not all cheating and winning in the best car. There were drives up there to compete with Fangio in 57 and Clark ten years later.

    We should be proud we were around to see it.

  14. Gerry de C said on 4th October 2012, 13:13

    It is sad to see you go Shumi. But go in the knowledge that you are the greatest F1 driver ever and that your impressive record may NEVER be broken.

  15. We will see if the Brawn Mercedes is a race winning team when Lewis gets there. Also this might reflect on how good Lewis really is!
    We know 100 GP’s ago MS could have won in a Billy Cart, but the last 3 years probably will not ever show on the track, but in the background… maybe his skills have been felt.

    • Sherlock said on 4th October 2012, 15:38

      I think that the last 3 years show that 100 GP’s ago he wouldn’t won in cart – he could won only with the mega support he had.

      A refreshing 3 years for those maniacs who worhsiped him like some kind of essence of driver skill.

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