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Already confirmed that he will be replaced at Mercedes by Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher has begun the Suzuka weekend by announcing his second retirement. 21 years after his debut at Spa, the seven-time World Champion will walk away from the sport following three disappointing seasons with the silver arrows.
Schumacher debuted in F1 with Jordan in 1991 and was pouched by Benetton one race later. He won his first pair of titles with the clothing brand in 1994 and 1995, then switched to Ferrari where he sealed five more crowns between 2000 and 2004.His first exit from the sport came at the end of 2006, having just missed out on the title to Fernando Alonso.
Last Friday, Mercedes announced that Hamilton would be partnering Nico Rosberg on a new three-year deal, with Team Principal Ross Brawn claiming that the news had ‘overtaken’ Schumacher’s own decision which had been expected this month.
As the F1 community arrived in Japan, some linked Schumacher with other teams such as Sauber and Toro Rosso, but the German silenced the rumours with his comments.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” he said. “We had a three-year agreement and I have had doubts for a while about whether I had the energy to carry on. I said back in 2006 that my batteries were empty and now I think I’m in the ‘red zone’, so I’m not sure there would be time to recharge them, but I’m looking forward to my freedom. There’s no hard feelings (with Mercedes)…in a way, we have achieved a great deal.
“Now I will just continue to do exactly what I have been doing, which is to finish races and focus 100 percent on what I do.”
Since returning to Formula 1 in 2010, Schumacher’s best result is his third place finish in the chaotic end to this year’s European Grand Prix in Valencia.
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Michael Schumacher announces retirement
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