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. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 4th October 2012, 13:43

    Thanks for everything Michael. You will be missed!

  2. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 4th October 2012, 13:44

    Now it’s time to go out with a bang! Peeking at the very finish!

    • If he was a pro cyclist, it would be time to encourage him to “do a Vinokourov” and figure-out how to go out in style! (Vinokourov won the Olympic road race in London this summer, and promptly announced his retirement (though he did ride one more big event post-Olympics…)) I don’t care what it takes, Michael – just give us something memorable in one of these last six GPs!

  3. DASMAN (@dasman) said on 4th October 2012, 13:50

    So gutted to see him go. He gave us some of the finest drives ever seen on a racetrack and at times with cars that didn’t deserve to be near the front.

    Add to that he took my beloved Ferrari and dragged them to front of the field through his ruthless determination and incredible work ethic. Truly a legend.

    You will be missed.

  4. krtekf1 (@krtekf1) said on 4th October 2012, 13:50

    I was expecting that he will announce his retirement. When Mercedes took Hamilton for 2013, there was no place for him anymore. Driving for Sauber would probably not bring him opportunity to fight for victories, and in later years the doors at mercedes would surely be closed. So after finishing this season I see him as an ambasador of Mercedes; maybe he will decide to drive for mercedes in DTM ;)
    In my eyes his comeback was not a mistake. The public expected to much of him considering his age. But even though he is over 40, he is still competitive to younger drivers. In three years he constantly improved the pace and now almost always outperforms his younger teammate. The obvious reason for not such as good results as in previous career was also the uncompetitive car. Even the very talented Rosberg couldnt achieve more than one victory for the team…
    The brightest moment of his comeback will be the fastest time in Quali. in Monaco this year. To be the fastest driver of the field on the one of the toughest tracks, at his age, is astonishing :D
    Good luck, Michael, in last 6 races in f1! ;)

  5. Roger Camp (@rogercamp) said on 4th October 2012, 13:58

    I’ll give my 2 cents.
    Sure Schumacher is a great driver, his records speak for itself. But there’s no question most of his success depended on his car and the team working full throttle for him. I never really liked his behavior.
    Keith is right, the car is capable of winning. Let’s put that aside, by his supposed talent, he should perform way better than his teammate, and throughout these 3 years, he was outperformed most of the time. Maybe in 2010 Schumacher thought he was still able to be on top of the game, and it proved to be far from it. I believe that Hamilton will outperform Rosberg next year. In contrast to Shcumi, Kimi’s comeback is absolutely amazing. I never thought, even for a second, that Schumi is a better driver than Kimi, I’d be thrilled if Kimi could fight for the championship until the last race this year.

    • HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 4th October 2012, 14:18

      Couldn’t say it better. I completely agree (except Hamilton part – I wouldn’t be surprised if Rosberg scores more points in 2013).

    • SD (@sd) said on 4th October 2012, 15:00

      But there’s no question most of his success depended on his car and the team working full throttle for him

      Every driver depends on his car for success, the only difference was that Ferrari were more interested in making him win than his teammate, dont forget that Rubens did win many races when he was Schumacher’s teammate, they even had a 1-2 win Rubens winning. Agreed that his second innings has not been a great one, but he deserves some respect for how he has kept up with the younger crowd at 43; putting this car on pole in a track like monaco is proof enough; I am not sure if any of these younger drivers will be as fit as him or be as competitive as him when they are 43. If people did not like him only because of his attitude, they have no reason to dislike him anymore, because he is not that arrogant guy he once was. Failure teaches people a lot of things and I am sure Michael has learnt from his second career. His achievements deserve respect and the least we could do is give him that!

  6. Its a bit sad to see him go like this. Although I’ve never really been a fan of him as such, but its impossible to not have a huge amount of respect for someone of his stature and calibre. Quite simply, the highest achiever ever of the sport, I’m sure most would have liked to see him depart on a high. But this was coming, it was all but given.

  7. Tango (@tango) said on 4th October 2012, 14:35

    I think the one who lost most with MS comeback is Nico Rosberg. Beat an old man comprehensively, and it’s expected. Get beaten by an old man and you are not a champion. At last with Lewis he will really have a benchmark (before MS, he hardly had anyone serious on the other side of the garage).

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 4th October 2012, 17:56

      “I think the one who lost most with MS comeback is Nico Rosberg. Beat an old man comprehensively, and it’s expected. Get beaten by an old man and you are not a champion.”

      I disagree entirely. Brawn had touted MS as 2010 WDC before he even turned a wheel at Merc. That couldn’t have been easy for NR to hear. Nobody expected NR to beat MS. Everyone had MS as needing only a handful of races to get back onto form. His age was ti be outweighed by his experience. And when that didn’t happen, rather than putting NR on a pedestal, most viewers made excuses for MS. His age, give him time, not a race winning car, front tires don’t suit his style etc etc.

      I think NR has only won in this, not only by never once showing any indication on or off track that he was intimidated by MS, but by outpointing a 7 time WDC 3 years running, including winning a race this year. NR has never been this good and with that win behind him it is only onward and upward, and he, like LH, like all potential WDC’s, only needs the car. I agree that LH will be a good benchmark, but so was MS. And NR did an amazing job with him as a teammate. And I think he may surprise people next year too.

  8. just_a_kid said on 4th October 2012, 14:39

    it’s pretty stupid to compare kimi with michael..how old is kimi?..michael dont need to win anything,he got plenty of it..and vs 1 win(u know who)..it’s nothing..

  9. TED BELL said on 4th October 2012, 14:49

    His accomplishments will never be touched by anyone. He did more, has done more, and will be known for doing more in a Formula One car than any man has yet done. I am lucky to have seen it all. Thank you Michael Schumacher.

  10. leotef (@leotef) said on 4th October 2012, 15:05

    Better early than much later, or should have been far better not coming back ‘cuz he could have kept some part of his achievements thru a thick veil.
    It’s truly amusing to hear some saying if he had been given a winning car he would have won some… So does that mean most of the others still can’t win if given a winning car? lol. BTW, I didn’t think he might have needed so many excusable words for this announcement. Why does he have to? Guess he still want to collect back some lost ground. When leaving belatedly, just leaving is enough then people will selectively remember his good moments and races, stats only to some, monaco quali with champion’s wall, very recent stupidity followed by lying etc.

  11. Fixy (@fixy) said on 4th October 2012, 15:38

    Although I never had hih hopes for Mercedes, with hindsight it’s easy to say his comeback was stupid. The truth is we did not know, and Michael accepted the risk because he was joining the team which launched him in 1989, as Brawn says. It would have been the perfect story for him, if only he hadn’t become the most successful F1 driver ever with another team. He was and always will be associated with Ferrari, that’s why many were somehow let down when he passed to a rival team to try and achieve further success and being remembered as a Mercedes driver, not a Ferrari one.
    These three years have been a disappointment. The results everyone hoped for didn’t come, and when this year the car was competitive he had all the bad luck he had avoided previously in his career. After a couple of the races the car became a midfielder, but in Monaco, where the performance gap is always narrowe, he went fastest of all in qualifying. Unfortunately a penalty robbed us of his long-awaited win, which despite being too little for someone like him could have meant so much more than three winless years. It has been nice to see this ace race again: true, he wasn’t on great form at the start, but he improved slowly and this year showed he is still very very fast. Some errors have highlited his aging though, therefore his retirement makes sense. I feel sorry because he wanted to retire having won a lot in these years, but for now he has a 3rd place as best result.
    When he retired at the end of 2006, coming 2nd in the title, recovering to 4th in his last race after dropping down to last with a flat tyre, he was still the best driver and retired at the peak of his success. I fear that many now will see his second retirement as a normal end to an old, mediocre driver’s career. He might have been mediocre in these years, but he simply has lost that sparkle inside him and he has passed to a car slower than his Ferraris. His results still count, he still achieved every single one of them. He hasn’t been able to improve them but we should see this as the best driver ever’s retirement, without separating his career into two.
    This is a sad moment for the sport which the last three years have made more and more easy by helping to forget his achievements, but we mustn’t forget them.
    Races: 302
    Podiums: 155
    Wins: 91
    Poles: 68
    Fastest laps: 77
    World drivers’ championships: 7
    Points: 1560
    Here’s hoping he can add to his tallies in the last races of this season. I’m happy with the fact the record for most races will remain to Barrichello, for now. I like to think Michael has done his old “friend” this favour.
    Goodbye, Schumi.

  12. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 4th October 2012, 16:04

    So it’s official then. This is very sad news for me. I used to be a die-hard Schumi fan but when he retired from the sport in 2006 no one could replace him for me, so I became a neutral f1 fan supporting every driver on the grid even the bad ones. I became very objective in my reasoning. That didn’t change in 2009 when announced his comeback to the sport but deep inside me I felt that old tingling feeling again. I will always have a weak spot for him and I really want him to do well in the next races, and there is hope because now he knows these are the final races he will do in his career. Things like that free up the mind and give someone 100% motivation. Remember the last time he announced his retirement?

    Thank you, Michael, for everything: it was, and is, a pleasure to watch you at work.

  13. Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 4th October 2012, 18:22

    Lots of comments, so not sure if this has already been said:

    As a twenty-something, Michael Schumacher is the face of F1 to me. From the early nineties (the earliest races I can remember) to now, he’s always been there, and when he hasn’t, he’s still been in the news, or in the garages. He has had a bigger effect on my view of the sport than anyone I can think of, including Bernie, di Montezemolo, Ron Dennis, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello…

    And looking back on his career now, I think I’ve grown up as he has. Those moments of madness with Hill and Villenueve, at the time, I utterly condemned. Would I have done that, in those situations? At the time I’d have said certainly not. Now… I’m not so sure I wouldn’t have. And whilst his dominance with Ferrari bored me at the time, now I have huge admiration for what was achieved, regardless of the circumstances. His arrogance has softened as my sympathy for him has grown (or perhaps vice versa).

    History might not be ever so kind to him, but he certainly demands respect for the page count required to document his incredible contribution to the narrative of the sport.

  14. Jason (@jason12) said on 4th October 2012, 19:41

    Interesting that even McLaren preferred Perez over Schumacher; and Ferrari felt better off with Massa.

  15. Estesark (@estesark) said on 4th October 2012, 19:55

    This is said as a joke in many comments, but here it really does apply:

    Hamilton’s fault!

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