Schumacher announces F1 exit

Michael Schumacher has announced he is to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the current season (Schumacher 33/1 to be fastest qualifier at the Japanese Grand Prix).

The 43-year-old’s future was placed in doubt last month when it was announced that Lewis Hamilton was to join Mercedes ahead of next season.

Instead of searching for a new team, Schumacher has decided to retire for a second time, following his initial decision to quit the sport in 2006.

He will go down as one of the most successful drivers of the modern era, winning seven Drivers’ Championships, including five in a row with Ferrari between 2000 and 2004.

Four years after retiring he announced his comeback but did not enjoy the same level of success second time round.

His third place at the European Grand Prix earlier this year was his sole podium finish in the last three seasons.

Speaking in Suzuka ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, the German conceded he no longer had the desire to keep racing.

“Although I am still able to compete with the best drivers, at some point it is good to say goodbye,” he said.

“During the past month I was not sure if I still had the motivation and energy which is necessary to go on.

“It is not my style to go on if I’m not 100% with it but with today’s decision I feel relieved.”

Fernando Alonso (8/15) currently leads the Drivers’ Championship, just ahead of Sebastian Vettel (5/2) and Kimi Raikkonen (20/1).

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