Michael Schumacher has announced that he will retire for a second time at the end of this season.
The seven-times World Champion joked that this time it would probably be permanent, and said that he just wants to enjoy the last six races of the season. His final race will come in Brazil exactly six years after his first retirement.
Flanked by Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug, Schumacher began by reading from a prepared statement to the assembled media.
“Basically I’ve decided to retire by the end of the year,” he said. “Although I’m still able and capable to compete with the best drivers that are around. But at some point it’s good to say goodbye. And that’s what I’m doing herewith by the end of the season, and it might this time even be forever.
“During the past month I was not sure if I still had the motivation and energy which is necessary to go on. It is not my style to do something that I’m not 100% feeling for. With today’s decision I feel release, obviously from those doubts, and in the end my ambition to fight for victories and the pleasure of driving is nourished obviously by competitiveness.
“It is without doubt that we did not achieve our goals to develop a World Championship fighting car. But it is also very clear that I can still be very happy about my overall achievements in the whole time of my career.
“In the past six years I have learned a lot about myself. For example that you can sort of open yourseflf without losing focus, that losing can be both more difficult and more instructive. Sometimes I’ve lost this sort of out of sight in the earlier years, though that you appreciate to be able to do what you love to do, that you should live your convictions, and I was able to do so.”
Michael’s voice showed a clear hint of emotion when he mentioned his wife: “I would obviously like Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, the team, the engineers, all my mechanics for all the trust that they’ve put in those years into myself. But I would also like to thank all of my friends, partners and companions who over many years supported myself. But most of all I’d like to thank Corinna, my family, for always standing by my side, giving me the freedom to live my conviction and sharing my joy. That is very special.
“I would like obviously now to concentrate until the end of the season for the last races, and enjoy them together with you. Let’s have fun – thank you.”