The man who helped guide Michael Schumacher to the majority of his F1 world championships believes that the German won't be able to settle into retirement.
According to Jean Todt, Schumacher will be back racing something within a couple of years, despite having called time on his F1 career for the second time at the end of the 2012 season. Todt, who was team principal at Ferrari while Schumacher was racking up his final five title, now heads up motorsport's governing body, the FIA, acknowledges that there will be no further F1 action for the German, but can't imagine him being idle for long.
"Who knows," Todt was quoted as telling the Italian media, “Maybe he will decide to come back to race in a couple of years. His decision [to retire] relates only to F1, so he could decide to race in another category."
Schumacher's first retirement, which lasted for three seasons from 2007-09, saw the German dabble in motorcycle racing. While he showed promise on two-wheels, however, a testing accident in Spain left him with neck injuries that initially cast doubt over his F1 return after Mercedes came calling for the 2010 campaign.
Although he subsequently proved his fitness by completing three seasons with the Silver Arrows, Schumacher was never able to find the sort of form that carried him to seven world titles with Ferrari and Benetton, and managed just one podium finish, in Valencia in 2012. He did show the pace to claim pole at Monaco this season, but was prevented from starting on the front row by a grid penalty picked up in the preceding Spanish Grand Prix.
Although he showed no signs of wanting to retire for a second time, prevaricating over signing a new deal offered to him during the summer allowed Mercedes to swoop for a disenchanted Lewis Hamilton, pairing the Briton with Nico Rosberg for 2013. While Peter Sauber hinted that he would have been interested in rehiring Schumacher – the Swiss team owner gave the young German his break in sportscars with Mercedes – there was no firm offer and the 43-year old was forced to accept that his days in the top flight were over once again.
He will continue racing this year, taking part in the Race of Champions in Thailand this weekend, where he will once again team up with now three-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel in an attempt to defend multiple back-to-back team titles for Germany as well as chasing individual honours.