Mercedes had already announced last week that Schumacher would be replaced by Lewis Hamilton next season, and while there had been speculation the 43-year-old German could move to Sauber, he instead announced Thursday that he would end his career. ”Basically, I’ve decided to retire at the end of the year,” Schumacher said ahead of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
He added: “I had been thinking about whether I had the necessary motivation to carry on but I do not want to do something I am not 100 per cent committed to. Having made the decision I now feel a release.”
He retired at the end of 2006, but was convinced to make a comeback with the Mercedes team in 2010 by close friend Brawn.
He said: “I thank Michael. We have known each other a long time, we started together in Group C racing and he went on to be the most successful driver in Formula One, winning more races and titles than any other driver.
Schumacher’s first stint in F1, between 1991 and 2006 saw him rewrite the sport’s record books, winning seven world titles and 91 races.
He will be best remembered for helping to revive Ferrari’s fortunes after joining the Prancing Horse in 1996 as part of the ‘Dream Team’ along with Ross Brawn, Jean Todt, Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli, winning five straight titles between 2000 and 2004.