Michael Schumacher says he hopes to be able to savour his final race in F1 when the German brings the curtain down on his F1 career for the second time this weekend in Brazil.
The seven-time champion retired at Interlagos back in 2006 as a title contender but this time round he heads into the season finale down in 15th place in the standings and with just one podium finish in three years.
With nothing to play for, Schumacher admitted he would be able to savour the moment more than he could back in 2006 and said he was hopeful that he could produce a strong race in his final F1 appearance.
“Interlagos is the right place to round off my career because so much of the fascination of Formula One is rooted there,” he said. “I always enjoy the enthusiasm of the fans, and it's simply a great circuit which has seen many memorable events and always produces spectacular races as the unique layout guarantees plenty of action. For me, it's also the circuit that brings back my memories of Ayrton.
“My departure from Formula One will probably be less emotional for me this time than in 2006, when we were still fighting for the championship and everything was much more intense. This time round, I will be able to pay more attention to my farewell and hopefully savour it too. I have had fantastic years in Formula One and a lot of support from fans around the world, and I wish to particularly thank them for that. Of course, I would be happiest if I could say goodbye with a strong race, and I am sure we will be doing everything we can to make it happen.”
Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn, who worked with Schumacher at both Benetton and Ferrari, admitted it would be an emotional weekend to see the German bow out of the sport and praised the 43-year-old for the work he had done for the team – even without the desired results.
“With the last race of the season in Brazil bringing Michael's second and final retirement from Formula One, it will be an emotional weekend for everyone in the team,” he said. “We have both greatly enjoyed and benefitted from working with Michael over the past three years, and I would like to pay tribute to his enduring commitment, passion and team spirit.
“The results that we all hoped for over that period have not come to fruition, however the progress that our team has made has been significant, and I am confident that we will see the rewards in seasons to come. Having worked with Michael for the majority of the 21 seasons of his career, I feel that he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Formula One driver of all time, and we wish him the very best with his future plans.”