Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2012

Michael Schumacher announces second F1 retirement

2012 F1 season

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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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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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152 comments on “Michael Schumacher announces second F1 retirement”

  1. Sad to hear this, not surprised though!

    1. So am I. There’s a slight of sad feeling Michael finally retires from F1 altogether, yet on the other hand I’m quite sure many people, regardless they’re the fans of Schumacher or not, don’t want to see him suffer any longer in a car that is not winning.

      So long, Michael. All the best.

      1. a car that is not winning.

        Except in his team mate’s hands.

        And let’s not forget Schumacher’s ‘phantom pole’ at Monaco either. The W03 may not be an MP4-27, but it is a race-winner.

        1. Really Keith, that coming from you? Mercedes were good in the first 3 races, and come on form in Monaco (or maybe it was just their drivers showing exceptional skill there). All things said, I cannot see where Michael could have won in the past 3 years. The first 3 races of the year, when the car was actually decent, Schumacher was let down by the team. Pointless jibe there, Keith.

          1. Maybe not wins, but there have been several podiums lost through reliability issues or just stupidity (on his or the teams part).

          2. It was not a “jibe”, I was simply pointing out the car has won a race this year so it’s incorrect to say it’s not a “winning” car.

          3. The W03 is a race winner – that’s a hard cold fact, not a jibe.

            But if we wish to engage in speculation, had it been in the hands of Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton, shaving a tenth or two off in qualifying and staying clear of midfield trouble, putting in blinding laps when they counted, staying out of trouble when it mattered, how many podiums might Mercedes have had this year? We will never know, but I’d bet my house that Alonso would have taken it into the top five in the standings at least. And Ross Brawn – one of Schumi’s dearest friends – clearly agrees that his cars need better handling.

          4. “Schumi would have already won three races this year with Sauber,” said Fernando Alonso…..nothing more to say Keith, that how good opinion have W03.

          5. Agreed!

          6. Agreed!

          7. Agreed and Fernando Alonso said it best. No matter all the non believer think i agree with Brawn he is the greatest driver. Seeing him drive the cars in all of his career just show his greatness. His name is synonymous to Formula 1

        2. Yes, and I think it’s worth to remember that Rosberg outperformed Schumacher when the car was at its best, namely, in China. And, while the car problems were to blame for his retirement at Monaco, Schumacher himself was responsible for starting from 6th instead of the pole position.

          1. Only in china.

        3. The car was capable of winning for a brief period, but it is clearly not capable of it now.

        4. And I think it is worth pointing out that the race Rosberg won was the one where Schumacer retired because they didn’t screw the wheel on properly at the first pit-stop. It’s a bit harsh to deem Schumacher’s performance in his come back a failure on the basis of a third of a race.

          1. The race NR won had him pulling away from MS right from the getgo. If I take anything away from these last 3 years it is that MS isn’t the genius car developer that he was credited for at Ferrari where he had unlimited testing and resources and his own car. Merc still sits a distant 5th in the WCC, in spite of them having a race winning car. If he is going to be given such accolades for his work at Ferrari, then where were the results at Merc? Merc (BrawnGP) had won a recent WDC, unlike Ferrari who was in a 16 year WDC drought at the time MS joined.
            So the fact they still sit 5th in the WDC, the fact that MS has had more lows than highs in these 3 years (the usual bullying of some drivers like RB, the lost front wings on several occasions last season, the incidents this season) proves to me furthermore how good he had it, hand over fist, at Ferrari, and without all those advantages he has been ragged and handcuffed to do anything but have the odd fleeting better moment. For him to say he has shown he can compete with the drivers of today is I think debatable…sure, on occasion that has been the case, but certainly not consistantly, and given where he sits in the standings and where he ended up last year and the year before, I think it is fair to say he hasn’t competed with todays crew. He hasn’t advanced the car, he has one podium in 3 years, he has been badly outpointed by his teammate 3 years running which is also unprecedented (see what happens when a teammate of his actually has a fair chance to compete against him?). And yes he has had unreliability, but so have others and when you balance things out MS has only had a few more technical issues than the likes of SV and LH and yet look where he sits.

            I think it remains true what Reubens said upon hearing of MS’s return to F1…”he has more to lose than to gain.” and I think what he has lost is some shine off the apple because he has shown that it wasn’t all him in the Ferrari haydays…it was a lot to do with the massive advantages he had back then too, so different has been the results from this stint in F1. It’s not all down to age and technical gremlins. Brawn had him as 2010 WDC. How the mighty have fallen. I agree that he has lost more than he has gained from this return and I’m just so so glad Brawn didn’t load up his side of the garage like MS had it at Ferrari such that we were able to see the true colours of MS having a teammate unintimidated and unaffected by a designated number one on the team.

          2. @robbie I think that if anyone thought that Ferrari became the force they were due to one person then they both underestimate and devalue the sport. Schumacher won the races because he had the best team. He brought the right people to Ferrari and had time to develop it perfectly. His seasons before the 2000’s are far more impressive to me than what he did after the turn of the century. Arguably, the opposition was the weakest for the decade before and since. These factors helped him win races and championships by miles but in all probability even if all other competitors were on the top of their game for years, MS would still probably have beaten them. I was no great fan of his but can pick out on average 2 races a season where no-one could touch him. and by that I mean no-one ever. That is a phenomenal return. For me Senna, Clark and Fangio will always be better but no-one can belittle his achievements, on his day he was amazing. Comparing 97 or 98 schumi against his current self is completely pointless, by 2006 he was past it. There were great races but not of the same calibre they were before. His return has been average but it doesn’t prove he was a fraud in his first career, it only proves F1 is a young mans game which requires absolute dedication which, quite rightly, he can no longer give.

          3. @rbalonso…fair enough and I’m sure many would agree with your stance. I personally believe through and through that he had more advantages hand over fist than any other driver in the history of F1, and the numbers reflect that. I think that given a bonefide top level teammate which would have provided him with physical competition on the track in a car built for both drivers not one, and the psychological affect a bonefide teammate would have had on him on and off the track, and competition at the top of their game as you suggest, he woud have not had nearly the numbers he compiled and we would have found him much more ragged and rattled when all the ducks weren’t line up in a row.

            It’s silly to deny the run he had, but I think it is crucial to appreciate the massive effort that went behind him in order to compile those numbers. And on top of that, going back to his whack on DH in 94, I have never been able to garner respect for his tactics on the track all the while having those massive advantages.

        5. Except in his team mate’s hands.

          And let’s not forget Schumacher’s ‘phantom pole’ at Monaco either. The W03 may not be an MP4-27, but it is a race-winner.

          No offence intended, but sounds a bit immature there @keithcollantine

          Sure the car has won once with “team mate’s” hands, but clearly Schumacher has proven that he was not necessarily slower than Rosberg . On the end of the day Mercedes has not been competitive enough for nether of the drivers .

          1. agreed. the petty, gleeful sniping and snark is mystifying.

        6. Well said.

          That would be his due win.

        7. @keithcollantine

          a car that is not winning.

          Except in his team mate’s hands.

          It is incorrect to say that the car is winning. Winning implies the present tense. The car has won; past tense. It’s a complete misrepresentation of the original poster’s sentiments to talking in the present tense and say that the car is winning is Schumacher’s teammates hands.

          The car won once, around six months ago; past tense.

          1. “The Mercedes W03 is a winning car” is a correct statement. It won the Chinese Grand Prix.

        8. The W03 was a race winning car. It is no longer. Extremely different things. But the whole argument is academic; point is that the car was never a consistent, competitive platform from which to win races regularly. There can be no implication that Nico’s solitary win is evidence that MS patently failed to perform.

      2. A nice twist of words… “not a winning car” or “a car that is not winning” are not the same.

        1. LOL at above comments hahaha

          Look, my point was simple (plus I’m no F1 expert like Keith); Michael never really have won anything since his comeback in 2010. The Mercedes W-something he drives is a ‘differently-set up’ car from Rosberg’s, which has won something.

          An article I’ve read stated that two cars on one team is never really alike. The setups differ one car to another. So maybe Rosberg has the winning-set up car, but Michael doesn’t. So Michael’s car is not winning.

          Now please excuse me because I have to do my math homework. :p

          1. I get the little back and forth here about a winning car vs. a car that is not winning, but I think in fairness to Keith it is a fact that the car has won a race in NR’s hands and that MS achieved a pole time in Monaco. And I extend that to mean that in the remaining races this season the car/team could win again…it has proven to be capable of winning a race this year, just as another team/driver may yet win this season that hasn’t yet.

  2. All the best for the future Michael, or shall I say, Red Baron :)

  3. Wow. Like Hamilton’s switch, it seemed likely in the lead-up to the announcement, but still the actual confirmation is a bit of a shock.

  4. This is the best for Schumacher. Still it makes me sad there’s no place for him even if he wants to continue…

    1. I think there was place. He just didn’t want to go there.

    2. Schumacher:

      “Whatever comes after, we will see. There is no point or any need to find any decisions right now, and I will do it exactly as I did it the first time, although I didn’t at that time think there was a second time but here we are, which is to focus and finish 100 per cent on what I do.”

      “There is no more to say about this. I have options obviously yes, and you know some of the options. But whatever they will be, we will decide when the time is there.”

      Another comeback?

    3. As a fan I think that’s the best call. Like Ross Brawn and stats say, he’s the greatest ever.

      1. He can still drive in other events/series for fun, no? Just no more in F1 at the pinnacle of motorsport. I’d be ok w/ that – seeing Schumacher competing “for fun” (but still to win) every now and again while enjoying those tens and tens of millions of euros earned over a phenomenal career.

      2. I dont think statistics give you a definitive conclusion on the ‘who is the greatest’ argument. Michael Schumacher’s stats say that he was the greatest driver to dominate his generation. Dosent make him the greatest

  5. I still think the 2010 comeback was a mistake and he only damaged his legendary status. Please, Michael, don’t change your mind again.

      1. I think a legend is creating on facts. So how is possible “to damage a legendary status” by acheiving new records(few, not so import, but still records), like Schumacher did in these 3 years. A legend will be remember by statistics, to be exacly.

    1. +1111111

    2. Er, how has he ‘damaged’ his reputation? He has still won the same number of championships and races – those achievements are not lessened, are they? OK, so he wasn’t as good as he was 15 or 10 years ago, but what did everyone expect? Overall showed himself to be competitive at a very advanced aged for a modern sportsman – and there’s no shame in that.

      Incidentally, his statement above shows a lot of class and dignity. Modesty and self-awareness are no qualities he excelled in in previous years and in that, if nothing else, he deserves credit.

      1. “but what did everyone expect?”

        Brawn had him as 2010 WDC, and most people were giving him a mere handful of races before he was up to speed.

        1. ‘Brawn had him as 2010 WDC’

          Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? It’s just PR talk; it’s not a realistic assessment of expectations.

          The point is, MS came back at the age of 40+. He wasn’t as good as before, and at times drove poorly. But on the other hand, he’s still one of the best 10 or so drivers on the grid. Like I say, there’s no shame there.

          1. I disagree…I don’t think Brawn would have said that as mere PR talk. I think he believed it and expected it. And most of his fans were right in there with RB on that and were expecting him to be on form in no time.

            I also think that if age is to be used as an excuse, then he should not have returned. I think MS was the same as before, only without the massive advantages. He was prone to bullying before, and he did that on his return. He was prone to mental errors before, when all the ducks weren’t line up in a row and he has certainly had at least as many of those as any other driver in the last 3 years.

    3. Got one more +

    4. From what I can remember, Schumi actually had more “haters” than supporters back in 2010. People would regularly remind us about his “semi legal” deeds on the track and how his status as n1 in Ferrari got him the titles and not him actually being that good. I’ve read these posts on different forums and I don’t mind that people have their opinions. But the thing is here, if you were a team boss and you had the opportunity to test as much as you want and even give one driver the better car, which one of those would you give it to? The one that’s not as good as the other? Even if its an extremely small margin. So I guess I’m trying to say is – he got the status and the help from the team because they believed he could achieve more with that N1 status. Which i really think he did with the 6 WCC and 5 WDC.

      Now, after his second retirement, people (from what I’ve read and understood from posts) like him a lot more than before his comeback. And as a post before me said, what he has achieved cannot be undone. The records still stand to this day so I don’t really think he ruined his reputation, if anything, he just added to his “legendary” status something that we couldn’t see much in his winning years – humility and knowing how to take defeats.

      1. I dont know about ruining his reputation, i think that was ruined many years ago xD what he did do certainly was decrease his wins vs races attempted ratio (not that statistics tells us who was the greatest ever anyway)

        give one driver the better car aye….I would give it to the better driver; Mika Hakkinen xDxDxDxDxD

        1. Too bad “McLaren did give the better car to Mika”…. :(

      2. @gr1mr4kn3ss …the problem I have with a team designating a driver as number 1 ala MS/Ferrari is when it is done by contract, and starts from race 1 of each season, such that there is no racing between two drivers on a top team. Which then means they go ahead a build the car for that designated driver. Which no longer makes it an apples to apples comparison to the rest of the field unless the other teams follow suit. That to me takes away hugely from what is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing. What Ferrari did with MS was to me not honourable and not respecting the viewing audience. Patrick Head used this phrase…”What a shame they forego the spirit of racing for the sake of share value.”

        I would far prefer the opposite scenario ala Senna/Prost at Mac. Sure it gave the team fits, and it is harder on a team when two gladiators are duking it out and taking points off each other. But that’s supposed to be what we pay to see. At Mac in that era they won all but one race that year, so you got to be pretty convinced as the later races of the season approached that a Mac would win…you just didn’t know which driver it would be, and that was thrilling. I found nothing thrilling about seeing MS getting everything his way, including not one iota of true competition, physically or mentally, from his teammate. And that is just one example of the many advantages he had compared to the true greats who had much more adverse conditions under which to win their WDC(s).

  6. All for the best, I’m sure. I think there were offers for him elsewhere, but he’s decided (quite rightly) that he shouldn’t just be there to make up the numbers.

    Danke, Michael. Thank you for everything.

    1. TheManyHamiltons
      4th October 2012, 9:29

      All for the best

      he really shud have gone down, but down the road of forming his own team. I mean, what is he going to with close to a billion dollars of money anyway!

      1. I don’t think he has THAT much money. Am guessing it’s closer to half a billion. I think it’s better off being in the bank than in F1, given how F1 just eats money for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Still, don’t be surprised if he still ends up buying a stake in an F1 team in the future (Sauber, post-Mercedes Brackley, or otherwise).

        1. This article states that he was the first sportsperson to become a billionaire.


  7. I think it’s the right decision. Schumacher was never sure if he really wanted to continue.

    There is an interesting interview with him in the latest issue of F1 Racing. He admits that the current tyres still irritate him so I think that maybe the current regulations have contributed to his decision. On the other hand, he says he has never thought about setting up his own team and has no other future goals, too. I wonder what he’s going to do next then.

  8. Though I knew it was coming but am sad, his second phase wasn’t the best,hope he comes up with something great in the next 6 races,you will be missed.

  9. I’m sad to hear this, but it had to happen eventually. Schumacher for me is the greatest ever. I hope he goes out in style like he did in 2006.

    1. I agree. It’s a shame that he has to retire like this. One of the most memorable race for me was Interlagos 2006, his “last race”. He had a lot of problems including a puncture which cause him to see the entire field move past him. But then, he rejoined the race and finished fourth scoring the fastest lap in the process. This was a farewell worthy of his career.

  10. so what are the odds on Schumacher to win le mans 2013?

    1. @zecks I would say zero. He did Le Mans in 1991 and apparently considers it too unsafe.

      A pity, because I’d like to see him continue racing at the top flight and the World Endurance Championship would be a great place for him.

    2. TheManyHamiltons
      4th October 2012, 9:30

      how ’bout 20/12? ;-)