While the hordes of Michael Schumacher fans get to grips with the fact that the seven time champion will hang up his helmet at the end of this season, the man himself is firmly focused on taking his tally up to eight titles before he bows out. Schumacher's win at Monza and rival Fernando Alonso scoring no points means the German's goal is tantalisingly close with three races to go.
The gap between them is just two points in Alonso's favour, while Ferrari has now overtaken Renault in the constructors' standings. A lot can happen in three races and this year's championships look set to go right to the end at the final event in Brazil on October 22nd. But before Schumacher rejoins the fight he reflected a little on his decision to retire.
"It was an indescribable day," he said of last Sunday, when he revealed his intentions after the Italian Grand Prix. "I think I did the right thing saying that I would retire having won. I know that many people were surprised by my decision but, for me, it was the perfect moment. I think that Ferrari behaved admirably and left the decision entirely up to me."
"After selecting the Monza weekend for the announcement, at Istanbul I felt I had to take more time to think and I asked myself if the end of the year would have been the best time. However, during the tests at Monza when Jean asked me when I would have preferred to make the decision, I decided once again for post-race at Monza. I wanted to focus totally on the race to come. Today, I feel good about it."
While the media was guessing and gossiping about what Schumacher might do, apparently he made his decision back at Indianapolis. Some cannot understand why he has chosen to quit when he's obviously still at the top of his game but others say he's done the right thing to go out on a high. Schumacher may be competitive right now but how long could he continue at that level?
"I am not getting any younger and it is only natural that I ask myself whether I have the strength, energy and motivation to drive for another year and stay at the top," he explained. "Obviously, I am still fit and competitive but would I have still been in the future? Simply 'driving' is not enough for me. It is not my style. I am pleased to have taken this decision alone and calmly."
"For this I have to thank Ferrari, Willi (Weber), my manager over the years. He has often provided me with support during the time we have worked together, almost twenty years. I think that is all. We have complemented each other perfectly. He was the first to point me in the direction of F1 but he also gave me the freedom to retire."
Despite his impending retirement from racing it's not the end of the road for Schumacher and Ferrari. He will continue his relationship with the Scuderia, although in what role we won't know until the end of the season, and with Weber. "My Formula One goodbye, as announced, will not be a goodbye to Ferrari or Willi," he said. "We will work together again in the future and I am happy about this."
For the immediate future, Schumacher only has one thing on his mind. "We still have three races left and we have to take our chance. We have almost made up the gap in the drivers' championship and already overtaken Renault in the constructors' standings. Both titles are within reach. From now on, all that counts for us is the title. Everything else can wait."