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'No plan' for Schumacher despite V8 interest

15 October 2012

Michael Schumacher insists that he is looking forward to a quiet retirement once the 2012 F1 season is over, with no intention to be involved in motorsport despite obvious interest from various quarters.

The German announced his second F1 retirement at last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, dashing suggestions that he might opt to prolong his career with an emotional return to either Ferrari or Sauber, and claims that he will even shun proposed ambassadorial roles in the top flight in order to spend more time with his growing family. The seven-time world champion was apparently offered a two-year deal to remain a figurehead for the Mercedes brand, despite being ousted from his seat in its f1 line-up by the arrival of Lewis Hamilton in 2013.

"For me, there is nothing better than being at home - for me, this means freedom and I want to enjoy that again soon," Schumacher was quoted by Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, "The plan is that there is no plan. I experienced F1 from a different perspective [with Mercedes] and, now, I'm more open and relaxed.

"I used to be different, but I was always under the microscope, so I was always under pressure. I have developed personally [in the last few years], and I'm different now. I've reached out to the people, and had them come closer to me and, in my later life, that is incredibly important. I am going out with my head held high."

The 43-year old, who investigated a career on two wheels after being replaced at Ferrari by Kimi Raikkonen in 1996, has again been linked with possible career extensions outside of F1, with a possible role alongside brother Ralf in the DTM the favourite suggestion, but he admits that motivation has been an issue in recent months - which will also come as bad news for various V8 Supercar teams looking to tempt him to Australia.

"Do not get me wrong, I still have exactly what is needed to be able to deliver 100 per cent, but there were times in the past few months where I didn't want to deal with F1 or prepare for the next grand prix," Schumacher confirmed, "I think that, given the circumstances, I have made the right decision. It is made up of many little things - travelling, being away from family, being somewhere sitting in a hotel where you do not necessarily want to be.... I'm looking forward to my retirement."

Schumacher also admitted that claiming a 92nd grand prix victory would not have been that big a deal in his comeback with Mercedes, as he only had eyes for a bigger prize.

"For the team, it was important to get a win this year, and Nico [Rosberg] succeeded in Shanghai," he noted, "I said from the beginning that it did not matter which one of us won the first grand prix for Mercedes and, while a win would have been nice for me, in the end it would not have changed much. I only returned for the championship - that was my goal in the comeback, a victory would have been only a small drop in the ocean."

Schumacher's decision to close the book on motorsport once the Brazilian Grand Prix concludes in late November will come as a source of frustration for several teams 'down under', amid reports that there were attempts planned to bring the German to the V8 Supercar series.

According to Melbourne's Sunday Age newspaper, Schumacher was being targeted as an international guest driver for next year's Gold Coast 600 which, despite attracting stars from other touring car and US-based disciplines, has yet to bring in more than the likes of Jacques Villeneuve, Nick Heidfeld, Tonio Liuzzi and Christian Klien from F1.

With Mercedes joining V8 regulars Holden and Ford in next year's series courtesy of a tie-up with Erebus Motorsport, Schumacher's F1 retirement was seen as an opportunity to tempt him to Queensland.

"The chances of him competing at Surfers have only got better, not worse, with AMG on the grid next year,'' an unnamed V8 official insisted, "It will depend on whether he's available and how much he wants."


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