Michael Schumacher announces his retirement at the end of the year

Michael Schumacher, who quit in 2006 before returning with Mercedes four years later, has announced he will retire at the end of the season. Motorsport legend Sir Jackie Stewart is relieved the German is retiring from Formula 1, as he believes Schumacher risked his reputation by carrying on.

"His reputation has already been affected by his unsuccessful return to the sport," Stewart said. "People will applaud the decision as it should have happened a while ago. The speculation within the whole F1 community has been that Michael should be retiring - and hopefully not for a short period this time. In a way I am sorry Michael came back. Recently he's had too many incidents."

Sir Jackie Stewart, who won Formula 1 world titles in 1969, 1971 and 1973, said he had been alarmed by Schumacher's collisions with Williams driver Bruno Senna at the Spanish Grand Prix and Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne in Singapore. "These two incidents, running up behind other drivers and hitting them at great speed, you might have expected from an inexperienced driver in their first year, but not from one of the great drivers," he said. "These driver errors would just never have happened with the likes of Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda or Jim Clark. They could have ended in tears. There comes a time when everyone recognises it may be time to retire."

Although Schumacher is the most successful driver in the history of Formula 1, with seven world titles and 91 race wins, Stewart doesn't think he is the greatest.

"His record will, I think, remain unbroken forever," Stewart said. "He's one of the greatest drivers of all time, although it's not possible to say he's the greatest. The number of Grand Prix he's driven are considerably more than anyone else. Juan Manuel Fangio didn't come to Europe to race until he was 39, yet won five world championships. His ratio of wins to races was extraordinarily good. Jim Clarke likewise. Myself, I only raced in 99 Grand Prix races but won 27. Although that's nothing like the 91 that Michael has won, the average was good. Michael's record in F1, particularly his Ferrari period, was so dominant because the car and engine was unquestionably the best on the grid and there was no doubt about who was number one and got most attention in the team."

Bet365 have Michael Schumacher at 80/1 to win the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend.

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