Michael Schumacher to retire from Formula One

11th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 September 2006, MONZA, ITALY - The day after announcing his retirement from Formula One, Michael Schumacher was in fighting spirits as he looked forward to the season's last three races. "My focus is exclusively on the world championship," the 37-year-old Ferrari driver said on his internet page. "We have three races to go, and we want to use these three races. We have almost closed the gap, and we have already overtaken Renault in the constructors' championship. Both titles are within reach." Schumache

11 September 2006

MONZA, ITALY - The day after announcing his retirement from Formula One, Michael Schumacher was in fighting spirits as he looked forward to the season's last three races.

"My focus is exclusively on the world championship," the 37-year-old Ferrari driver said on his internet page.

"We have three races to go, and we want to use these three races. We have almost closed the gap, and we have already overtaken Renault in the constructors' championship. Both titles are within reach."

Schumacher announced after Sunday's Italian Grand Prix victory in Monza that he would be retiring at the end of the season. "I am grateful I could announce my farewell with a victory," he said.

The German is enjoying two days of rest with his family in Switzerland before embarking on two days of test driving in Le Castellet, France as the German begins his assault on an eighth world title.

Schumacher is now only two points behind Renault's Fernando Alonso of Spain - and the nerves seem to be getting a bit frayed at the French team.

Renault boss Flavio Briatore claimed after the Monza race the world championship battle had been fixed in favour of Schumacher - only later to withdraw his comments which he said were meant as a joke. Nevertheless, the sport's governing body, the FIA, may not see the funny side.

"These comments which have been attributed to me in the press today have been completely taken out of context," read a statement from Briatore.

"A jokey remark has been turned into something it was not intended to be. I have every confidence in the governance of our sport and look forward to our team fighting and winning the Formula One World Championship this season."

There was full of praise in the Italian press Monday for Schumacher, with the media acknowledging the German's massive contribution to the revival of Ferrari's fortunes.

"Thank you Schumi," was the banner headline in German on the front page of the sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Schumacher is a controversial legend who will be talked about for years. But never before was there a more complete champion," it said.

Elsewhere there was recognition for Schumacher's achievements as the most successful driver in Formula One history, although many commentators tempered their praise by mention of the manner of some of his wins.

In Switzerland, Neue Zuercher Zeiting wrote that Schumacher goes out as the most successful racer in history. "Whether he will remain as the best in the memory depends on which way you look at things," it said.

The Times in Britain wrote that Schumacher's absence will leave "a chasm" in the sport.

"The word legend is used in sport too loosely these days, but whatever your feelings about him, Schumacher is one of them.

"His leaving marks the end of an era in motor racing that he has defined by his mere presence. So many wins, so many pole positions, so many fastest laps, so many defeated opponents, most of whom have long since disappeared into the sunset - and two or three awful moments that let him down in 16 years behind the wheel at the highest level."

In Germany, the retirement of their sporting hero will leave a gap which will be hard to fill.

Schumacher himself mentioned BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and newcomer Sebastien Vettel, BMW-Sauber's 19-year-old test driver, as drivers who could step into his footsteps.

But the commercial TV station RTL, whose Formula One contract ends after next season, is unlikely to get the sort of viewing figures they racked up in the Schumacher era. His victory on Sunday was watched by 8.4 million viewers.

By Claas Hennig, dpa

Copyright DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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