Granger Whitelaw: Media Reaction to Michael Schumacher’s 2nd retirement
Twenty four hours ago, the most successful Formula One driver in history announced his second retirement from Formula One. At the end of 2006, Schumacher, the most dominant formula one driver in history retired (some say not willingly) near the top of his career. Holding nearly every record on the books:
Most Wins, Most Pole Positions, Most Points, Most Fastest Laps, Most Championships, Most Podiums, Most back to back championships, Most wins in a season, most consecutive wins, and the list goes on.
In 2006, Schumacher seemed to be pushed out of Ferrari to make room for Kimi Raikkonen, at his press conference, many keen observers saw that Schumacher looked more like he was pushed, than jumped. Fast forward to 2012, Schumacher retires again after three disappointing years at Mercedes. As the facts come out, many speculate that 2006 and 2012 might have been very similar. In 2012, Schumacher had a unilateral option to renew his contract, he delayed and let the option expire, having doubts about his commitment, and the ability of Mercedes to challenge for the championship. With time ticking away, a nervous Ross Brawn aggressively courted Lewis Hamilton, one of only stars without a contract. Schumacher was not pushed, he was informed at every stage, and seemed to be relieved in the end that the decision was made for him. It is possible 2006 was a similar situation, Ferrari management was nervous Schumacher might not decide to renew his contract too late in the game for Ferrari to find a suitable replacement.
Media reaction is below:
The Daily Guardian has this to say:
It seems almost fitting that Schumacher should announce his retirement at Suzuka, a track where he has won six times, and where he clinched two of his titles, including the 2000 success that kick-started Ferrari’s period of domination.
And he intends to finish his career on a high, starting with Sunday’s race. “It is now key what comes with six races to go,” he said. “I will do exactly as I did the first time I retired. I will focus 100% on what I am doing and then look at what happens next. I have options obviously, but what they are I will decide when the time is right. I had options to stay but did not feel right about it.”
He will be best remembered for helping to revive Ferrari’s fortunes after joining them in 1996 along with Brawn, Jean Todt, Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli, and winning five straight titles between 2000–04.
Along the way he set new standards in terms of driver fitness and of understanding of race strategy as he and Brawn dovetailed beautifully.
However, his return to the sport he once ruled has not been a success and he has taken just one podium finish over the last three seasons, that result coming at Valencia earlier this year.
There had been suggestions Schumacher would join Sauber, for whom he raced sportscars in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in 2013, but he has instead opted to stop racing.
Schumacher, his voice breaking with emotion, was flanked by Brawn and Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug as he made his announcement. And Haug paid a glowing tribute to Schumacher.
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.