The German has had a turbulent season with moments of brilliance showing that the spark that won him seven world titles was still very much present. His pole position lap at Monaco was one of these moments and it was a shame that inconsistencies and mechanical failures robbed him of numerous strong results.
Formula 1 however is a results based business and Schumacher’s return to the sport will be judged to have been a bitter disappointment. Just a single podium, Valencia this year, and for much of his tenure the 43 year old was outpaced by his teammate, Nico Rosberg.
Speaking at the Japanese Grand Prix Schumacher said:
“Although I am still able and capable to compete with the best drivers that are around, at some point it is good to say goodbye – and that is what I am doing this season. This time it might even be forever. During the past month, I was not sure if I still had the motivation and energy which is necessary to go on.”
“In the past six years I have learned a lot about myself. For example, that you can open yourself without losing focus. That losing can be both more difficult and more instructive than winning. Sometimes I lost sight of this in the early years.”
With Lewis Hamilton having been announced as Rosberg’s teammate last week Schumacher would have been forced to look for a new team in 2012. He had been linked with a return to Sauber, whom he raced for in sportscars, but instead he decided to walk away from the sport.