16 March 2013
Schumacher retires from racing
Ralf Schumacher has decided it's time to follow brother Michael into retirement, making way for F3 hotshot Pascal Wehrlein in the Mercedes DTM squad. [Updated]
Just a couple of months after his elder brother was effectively forced to call time on his F1 return by Mercedes' decision to snap up Lewis Hamilton for 2013, Ralf Schumacher has also decided to hang up his helmet.
The younger Schumacher had been due to return to the Mercedes' line-up in this year's DTM, but caused a surprise on the eve of the new season by announcing that he would be stepping out of the cockpit and into a management role. His place in the Three Pointed Star's line-up will be filled by F3 hotshot Pascal Wehrlein.
"I've been thinking a great deal about my future during the last few weeks," said Schumacher on Saturday. "[I] have reached the conclusion that I am better able to support the extensive changes at Mercedes-Benz with regard to the DTM in a management role than at the wheel of a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé.
"I had talks with Toto Wolff [head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport] and Gerhard Ungar and asked to finish my current career as a racing driver and concentrate on this new position," he confirmed. "I am very grateful for more than two decades in professional motor racing and the last five years with Mercedes-Benz in the DTM."
Wolff insisted that the decision to step down from racing had been entirely Schumacher's decision.
"We would love to be with Ralf Schumacher for his sixth DTM season," Wolff insisted. "However, Ralf has informed us that, after careful consideration, he sees his future in management, which we fully support.
"Of course, it is a pity to lose a driver of his calibre, but we are really pleased that he will remain with us in his new role," Wolff added.
His decision brings to an end a career that includes six F1 Grand Prix victories, six poles, eight fastest laps and 329 total world championship points from 180 starts between 1997-2007, making him Germany's third most successful driver of all time in the top level of motor sport. After leaving the Grand Prix circuit, he went on to compete in 54 DTM races for Mercedes-Benz.
His new role within the RSC Mücke Motorsport will be primarily focussed on developing a whole new generation of racing talent, including his successor in the DTM squad Wehrlein as well as another DTM graduate, Daniel Juncadella.
"We have plenty of young, up-and-coming talent in our squad of drivers and I am happy to make way for them so that I can concentrate fully on my new responsibilities in the management team at RSC Mücke Motorsport," said Schumacher. "This represents an exciting challenge for me, helping the best young drivers with my know-how and expertise, and hopefully seeing them on their way to a successful career in motor racing."
Wolff added: "Our driver line-up is certainly a valiant bunch, but they also patently represent a huge investment in motor racing's future by Mercedes-Benz - these guys are stars in the making. In going this route, Ralf is taking on a very important, key role, using his experience to advise and assist our young drivers."
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