Michael Schumacher set to retire at the end of 2012 season

Yes, you read the headline right. Michael Schumacher, the iconic, legendary and by far the most successful Formula 1 racer of our times has decided to retire from the sport, for a second time. Schumacher announced his intentions to the media in the run-up to the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, after months of letting the whole world speculate on his future. The news of his retirement comes just a week after Mercedes AMG Petronas announced that Lewis Hamilton would be joining their team in 2013 to partner with Nico Rosberg. Left without a seat in the Mercedes works team, Michael Schumacher didn't find it worthwhile to look for a drive elsewhere next year and chose to end his long racing career.

Announcing his decision, Schumacher said, "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 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."

Clearly, Schumi, as he is referred to by millions of fans across the world, wouldn't be happy that his second career is coming to an end this way. After achieving stupendous success in his first stint with Ferrari and initially Benetton, Schumacher's comeback with Mercedes was (and still is) a disappointment. It is not entirely his fault though, as Mercedes failed to deliver a car that was capable of winning grands prix. Since the team was formed with much fanfare in 2010, Mercedes has just won a solitary race till date, a statistic that they won't be proud of.

For his part though, Michael has been continuously upping the ante since his comeback, after a mediocre start in 2010 in which he was comprehensively beaten by his team-mate Nico Rosberg. This year saw the return of Schumi in full form, with his amazingly brilliant race-craft and never-say-die attitude coming to the fore on many a occasion. Unfortunately, Schumacher's car was plagued with reliability problems in the first half of the season. Pole position in Monaco proved that, at almost double the age of many of his competitors, Schumi was still competitive at the highest level of motorsport. Lady luck finally smiled on him as Schumacher finished on the podium in Valencia, a race in which the Mercedes car, for a change, lasted the distance to see the chequered flag.

It's a pity though that Schumacher did not get to add significantly to his tally of 7 World Championships, 68 Pole Positions, 91 Race Victories and 155 Podium Finishes (just 1 of these came with Mercedes in his second career) on his comeback. However, those are records that are going to be tough for anyone to close, let alone beat.

Schumacher continued, "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. 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 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 1."

"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."

And in the shock, don't forget to watch the six remaining races of the 2012 F1 season, possibly the last ever season with 6 world champions (Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton & Jenson Button) racing on the grid and also the final races of Michael Schumacher, widely regarded as "the best" Formula 1 racer ever.

Forget the controversies and criticism surrounding him, Formula 1 will be left with a big void from 2013 that just can't be filled in by anyone else. We consider ourselves lucky for having grown up during his glory days. We will definitely miss you, Schumi!

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  1. will surely miss this guy.

    1. Hell yeah! Nobody else can ever replace Schumi.

  2. I will miss him too. He is easily the best Formula 1 racing driver of all time.

    1. He may or may not be the best F1 racer of all time, but F1 is not going to be the same once he retires.