Oct.6 (GMM) Despite losing one of F1's strongest brands, Bernie Ecclestone has backed Michael Schumacher's decision to finally retire.

"It is the right time for Michael to go," the F1 chief executive is quoted by Express newspaper.

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes AMG F1
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes AMG F1

Photo by: xpb.cc

The 81-year-old Briton was a big supporter of the great German's return to F1, but at the tail-end of 2012 he admits: "There have been a few too many shunts and another one in practice today (at Suzuka on Friday)."

When he made the big announcement, Schumacher admitted Mercedes' signing of Lewis Hamilton had made his decision to quit easier.

"I think it is good if someone comes along and helps you make a decision," said Ecclestone. "It happens for the right reasons usually."

He is worried, however, that Schumacher is tempting fate by deciding to quit with a full six races left to run in 2012.

"God forbid that anything should happen to such a great driver in the next few races when he is looking forward to a new life," said Ecclestone.

He recalls, years ago, Niki Lauda's decision to retire for the first time -- during a mid-season practice session.

"I said (to Lauda) 'if you are going to retire, go now, don't wait, anything else doesn't make sense'.

"And Niki left there and then. Left his overalls and helmet and went. It was the right thing to do," said Ecclestone.