Michael Schumacher revealed that Lewis Hamilton’s switch to Mercedes for next year was the catalyst for his decision to retire from Formula One for the second time.
The 43 year old legendary driver had been in negotiations with Mercedes about extending his contract but when Mercedes secured Hamilton’s services it left Schumacher without a drive for next season.
Announcing his retirement, Schumacher said: “I was in the picture when the negotiation was going on, but I didn’t want to decide; I was not sure. Sometimes in life your destiny will develop by itself, without any hard feelings and without any regrets.”
The seven times World Champion wished his successor at the Mercedes team all the best in the future.
“We all know Lewis is one of the best drivers we have around and I cross fingers that we will have a successful future,” he added.
Schumacher forged a triumphant partnership with Ross Brawn at Ferrari and together they transformed the iconic Italian team into the dominant force in Formula One during the pair’s heyday.
Unfortunately Schumacher’s second coming at Mercedes was less than stellar, with just one podium, at Valencia this year, and pole position at Monaco earlier this season to show for their three years together at Mercedes.
Brawn thanked Schumacher for his work with the team since he came out of retirement and hinted that there may be a behind the scenes role for him when he hangs up his helmet and overalls at the end of the season.
“We would like him to stay involved with Mercedes. There is a lot of things he can contribute – perhaps on the racing car side but certainly on the road car side and I think that is something he would enjoy a great deal,” the team principal said.
However when Hamilton was asked about the possibility of Schumacher remaining with the Mercedes F1 team in some capacity, the new boy appeared to slam the door shut with his answer a resounding and emphatic “No”.
He did acknowledge the legendary driver’s undoubted skill and talent and admitted that he hoped to benefit from Schumacher’s technical expertise that has contributed to the development of Mercedes’ F1 cars over the past three years.
“When you come in, just like when I came in here [McLaren], there were drivers that work very hard to steer the guys in one direction. My driving style is very similar to his so hopefully it will be seamless,” he said.