It’s official: Schumacher announces his retirement from F1

I don’t think this is a big surprise, but it still is news: Michael Schumacher announced during press events today that he is retiring (again) from Formula 1.

“Basically, I’ve decided to retire at the end of the year,” Schumacher said. “Although I was able and capable of competing with the best drivers that are around, at some point it’s time to say goodbye and this time it might be forever.”

He also posted the following at his website:

“I have decided to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season, although I am still able to compete with the best drivers of the world. This is something that makes me proud, and this is part of why I never regretted my Comback. 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 Good-Bye.

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.

I have said at the end of 2009 that I want to be measured by my success, and this is why I had a lot of critizism in the past 3 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 3 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 1.

In the past 6 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.”

I think I can guess what the main assessment of his time with Mercedes will be. Does it impact his legacy — in any way enhance it? Should he have gotten one race in a Ferrari? Should he have quit now or gone to, say, Sauber?

And will anyone ever pass all the records he’s set?

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