Michael Schumacher announces retirement from F1 effective at the end of the 2012 Formula 1 Season
All good things must come to an end, even for one of the greatest drivers of a generation. It seems the announcement by Mercedes of the signing of Lewis Hamilton was the final push Michael Schumacher needed to finally decide to retire from Formula 1 racing for good. Schumacher seems to be at peace with his decision seemingly knowing that his ride in F1 had come to an end this season.
Schumacher stated, "I have decided to retire at the end of the season. I still feel I am capable of competing against the best but the time sometimes comes to say goodbye and this time it might be forever. 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."
It is a bit of a shame Mercedes-Petronas seemed to mismanage the twilight of Schumacher's career. His return was not what he expected but fans got to see one of the greats in action a last time. A new chapter unfolds both for Schumacher and the Mercedes Formula 1 program, he will be missed greatly in F1.
Schumacher career synopsis:
1969: Born on January 3 in Huerth-Hermuelheim, Germany.
1973: Makes his racing debut in a karting event.
1987: Wins German and European kart championships.
1988: Finishes fourth in German Formula Ford championship and is second in the European series in his first year of car racing.
1990: Wins first major single-seater title, clinching the German Formula Three crown. Steps up to sportscars, driving for Mercedes.
1991: Makes Formula One debut for Jordan in Belgium, qualifying seventh before retiring. Poached by Benetton for the rest of the season.
1992: Takes first Grand Prix win in Belgium on his way to third in the championship.
1994: Wins title, with eight wins to his name, after controversial last-race clash with Damon Hill in Australia.
1995: Retains world crown, taking nine victories.
1996: Moves to struggling Ferrari and manages three wins on his way to third in the championship.
1997: Wins five races but is stripped of second in the championship for attempting to take out title rival Jacques Villeneuve at Jerez.
1999: Breaks his leg at Silverstone when easily leading the championship.
2000: Finally wins Ferrari's first drivers' title since 1979, amassing nine wins on the way.
2001: Another nine wins and another title, setting a new record for all-time victories.
2002: Wins championship in record time, setting a new mark of 11 victories.
2003: Wins title by a point after six victories, breaking Juan Manuel Fangio's record of five championships.
2004: Breaks his own record for wins in a season, 13, to take title number seven.
2006: September 10 - Announces his retirement at end of 2006 season after winning Italian Grand Prix.
2009: July 29 - Announces plans to make a shock return to F1 with Ferrari, deputising for Felipe Massa until the Brazilian recovers from injuries suffered in an accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
August 11 - Forced to abort comeback due to a neck injury sustained in a motorbike accident in February.
December 23 - Signs a three-year contract to drive for Mercedes GP, ending three years in retirement.
2010: Makes his return to F1 in Bahrain and finishes the season in ninth, with a highest finish of fourth.
2011: Betters his previous season with an eighth-placed finish and 96 points, with a fourth in Canada his best result.
2012: Returns to the podium for the first time since his retirement, finishing third in the European Grand Prix.
October 4: Announces he will be retiring from the sport at the end of the season.