Schumacher says farewell to Formula One

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The Brazilian Grand Prix saw the end of an era as Michael Schumacher retired from Formula One.

It’s not the first time he’s done so, but it will be a great surprise if this one does not prove to be the last.

In Brazil he raced with a helmet bearing the message “Life is about passions. Thank you for sharing mine.”

Schumacher took the chequered flag at his 306th and final Grand Prix in seventh place. As he returned to the pits he shared a few words with his team on the radio.

“Great drive, Michael,” said Ross Brawn. “Some of the magic showed there. It has been genuinely a great privilege for all of to work with you these last three years. It’s a shame we haven’t had a better car but it’s been a wonderful period, lots of memories. Thank you.”

“I wish you a wonderful time whatever the future may bring to you,” Schumacher replied. “I’ll be crossing fingers. I’ll keep those three years and good memories and some good times.”

“I say let’s get ready to party later on! Thank you.”

After that Schumacher went to congratulate Sebastian Vettel, his natural successor as Germany’s top racing driver, on his third championship victory.

Michael Schumacher says farewell to Formula One

A selection of pictures of Schumacher marking his final F1 race weekend.

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Schumacher says farewell to Formula One”

  1. I like the picture of Nico wearing the “thank you” t-shirt.

    I also like TImo Glock’s patch on his race suit too. I wonder if he had to ask permission for that? Not that anyone Marussa would have rejected such a request, but still.

    I’m gutted he didnt get a win in his comeback. There was only two opportunities for this, and they were both this year. He was let down by the team in China, and he let himself down in Spain, which went onto hurt him in Monaco. The car has been a dog, but he and Nico have definitely outperformed it. Unfortunately, it was that bad that it had trouble catching Lotus and Ferrari when they were having a bad day!

    I hope he returns to the sport in the future in the form of management, and I’m sure he will, Michael has said himself that he cannot live without Formula 1.

  2. I’ve been a schumacher fan as long as I have been watching formula 1, since 1994. Many people have said that his comeback has tarnished his reputation, that he should not have come back, that his legendary status is now somehow deminished…. I wholeheartetly disagree!

    When he retired in 2006 there was a sense of loss for what still might be, the guy just came within an inch of getting an 8th title and was clearly competative. I think not many people doubt that had he driven that ferrari in 2007 he would have had a great shot at the title. In essence, I think he stopped to soon.

    So why do I think it was a good idea to come back, even though he was not competative (regardless of the car) ? Look at the great champions, they either die to young, like Senna, or Clark. Or the slowly fade away, like Lauda, Piquet, and Mansel after he came back from indycar, even Prost (even though he won the title in his last year). What both those scenarios have in common is closure. You see the next generation slowly taking over from the old one, or you see them going in a blaze of glory. You know their time has been.

    Seing Schumi strugle is the mercedes, and sometimes seeing his brilliance shine through, like last year in Canada, his podium this year, his duel with hamilton on monza, or his qualifing in Monaco has given me a sense of closure for on of the greatest drivers of all time. And I like that just fine :)

    1. @melkurion He never tarnished anything, you’re right. To walk away with 7 championships is one thing, to walk back in to a grid considered the best ever, into a new team you don’t know with a car less than desirable is another. He had the balls to do it and he delivered the best he could most of the time. Everything is relative in life.

      I’ve had the pleasure of hearing his car roar away from me at two F1 events I’ve attended and to say that about the most successful driver of all time fills me with pride for myself and for his determination.

      1. Better to try and fail then fail to try.

        1. Here in Brazil we say:
          “antes a dor da derrota do que a vergonha de não ter lutado”.
          better the pain of defeat than the shame of not having tried.

    2. brilliant, COTD

    3. I think the closure part is right. When he retired in 2006, you still felt he could win more championships. I know I felt a lot of sadness at the time.

      This time in 2012, it feels right. There’s not so much sadness as much as a feeling of a rightful conclusion to one of the greatest F1 careers of all time.

    4. I am very sad to see my boyhood hero finish with F1. I think you did great justice with that comment. It was a privilege to finally see Schumacher race in real life this year, it was an experience I will always remember.

      Thank you Michael!

  3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    26th November 2012, 22:36

    Even if Vettel or whoever coming breaks his records, that wouldn’t make him less at all. Some might say the category is harder now that in his Ferrari 5 WDC stint, but it’s probably the contrary. It’s not that the other drivers he raced against were weak (Hakkinen 2000 weak? Montoya 2002 weak? Even Ralf had some shine, It was Kimi in 2003, or a menacing Alonso in 2005). If he was the only world champion racing those years, it was not exactly for Hakkinen withdrawal, but because he was too good to challenge right? And of course the race- driver combination made it even better for him.

    Good farewell, it was just a shame the FIA didn’t let the ceremony be out of the agenda to bring him on that podium!

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      26th November 2012, 22:38

      race- driver Oops… car – driver

  4. So did anybody else notice that (unless I’m missing him in one of the pics) Ralf was nowhere to be seen this weekend? I would’ve thought for sure that he would’ve been there.

  5. These photos are amazing. Thanks Keith!

  6. It’s his decision, but I will miss him in F1. I will miss his driving, his charisma… I think Merc should’ve keep him 3 more years and help him win another title, they let him down so many times this year. In the beginning of the season he was on the verge of getting solid points and even podium finishes when his car let him down, I even forgot how many times, 6 or 7!

  7. Immortal idol. His glory will never fade. He’ll be back in the paddock in a few years leading a big team. Thank you Michael !

  8. I have enjoyed watching Schumacher race these past 3 years. It has often been frustrating, but I was with him every minute. (Ironically, almost the only race of which I missed a substantial part, including the closing laps, was Valencia this year!) I was four years old (and a Jean Alesi fan) when he won his first title, so it seems as though he has always been around. I remember my disbelief when he chased Alesi down from half a lap behind at the Nurburgring in 1995. Whatever else changed over the years, Schumi was still there battling away. I will miss him!

    His comeback wasn’t quite a racing success, although he held his own against Rosberg from Spa 2010 onwards. And I wouldn’t want there to be a trend of old drivers hogging seats. Yet I think Schumi’s Mercedes spell has been good for F1 and his fans. He shouldn’t have retired in 2006, and to echo the commenter above, these 3 seasons gave proper closure to an amazing career.

  9. Schumacher’s comeback is a perfect example of how much important role the car plays, in winning races/championship. Give him a Ferrari, he wins 5 championships and give him a Mercedes, he gets a podium and phantom pole. But nevertheless he is truly a legend and will remain an inspiration for many.

    Before F1 came to India 2 years ago, Schumacher was synonym for F1 here (now Vettel is equally popular, by winning 2 races in 2 years). He was the reason I watched F1 for and stopped watching when he retired in 2006, and his comeback got me glued again. It was really an honor to see him drive in flesh & blood from couple of meters away (next best thing from getting his autograph :P ).

    You can call him a Hero/Villain/Cheat/anything you want, but you can’t take away the fact that he is a True Racer (and probably the best ever !)

    Thank You

  10. Schumacher became part of Formula one when I had recently started to follow it. I was impressed with Senna, Prost and Schumacher but back then You couldn’t easily follow the sport very closely, so I never became a dedicated fan. Then came the years where Ferrari together with their tyre supplier, Schumacher and Ross Brawn dominated F1 – to an extent where it became a little boring. I was busy with my study so I wasn’t addicted. People follow sport to be intertained and to be inspired. I have in my professional life as a Master of Science in Electronics Engineering found Formula 1 to be the most inspiring sport to me, because my working life and my private life is a team effort, albeit without the star-driver as Schumacher was, but the tales about his dedication, focus, concentration together with the Team and designers effort has been immensely inspiring to me. As a designer and specifier of equipment I was inspired by Ferrari, Schumacher and Ross Brawn to look carefully at the quality and performance of the equipment, to improve my teams preparations, preparedness and ability to change strategy when performing sea trials, as well as working for a teamspirit and to make everyone feel part of the success. I think Formula 1 offers a complexity of technical innovation, teamwork, the athlete, leadership, rules of engagement and excitement which is most inspiring for me. Schumacher is definately part of this and I would not have done as well without this inspiration.
    Of his last 3 years, which gave us good and bad moments I especially enjoyed to watch the onboard video of Schumacher starting from 24th at Spa in 2011.

    All the best for You and Your family, Michael – and please no Motorbike racing!

  11. The passion. Exactly.
    Michael was an imperfect champion, no doubt, but it somehow makes me like the guy more.
    In the end it seems he liked racing even more than he liked winning, and that is saying something.

  12. Schumacher is finished with F1. After giving the sport many highlights with superb driving, as well as many lows for the uncompromising will to win (shared by his teams), his stint at Mercedes offered more of his personality and rounded it off.

    I don’t think he will be missed anymore, because he was able to make his career go up, and finished it off himself in the end. Others will come, but his amazing statistics and feats (positive and negative) will colour our sport for a long time.

  13. Please Kieth share this video with your readers.
    It is an emotional LAST LAP / LAST GOOD BYES / LAST HUGS to the Ferrari team.
    Thank you.

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