Top moments of 2012, #13: End of the Schumacher era, again’s 13th top moment is the record holder of Formula One championships who lost his ride at Mercedes and swiftly went back into retirement. Michael Schumacher leaves the premier series with seven world championships.

An era has ended for the second time. The first ending left Formula One fans, teams, drivers, and even Michael Schumacher himself, wondering if the seven-time world champion still had something left in the tank. The second confirmed there was just a shadow of former greatness, a far cry from the man that won 91 grand prix and seven world titles.

“I said at the end of 2009 that I wanted to be measured by my success, and this is why I had a lot of criticism in the past three years, which was partly justified,” said Schumacher.

In my opinion, he is the greatest Formula One driver.

Ross Brawn

He added, “There is no doubt we did not achieve our goal of developing a car capable of fighting for the world championship in those three years. But then it is also clear that I can still be very happy about my overall achievements in Formula One.”

In three long seasons, Schumacher was only able to grab one pole position at Monaco this year, which he lost due to a grid penalty and a single podium finish at Valencia this year as well. Yet, his legacy as the most dominant F1 driver will live on. Some have said he tarnished his record by returning, but his feats of greatness remain. Schumacher came back because he is passionate about racing. Win or lose he wanted to be in the car, amongst friends and a part of the F1 spectacle

“In my opinion, he is the greatest Formula One driver, and the records which he holds in our sport speak volumes for his success and commitment,” commented Ross Brawn. “We have not achieved the results that we would have wished during this time; however Michael's contribution to our development and the future of our team has been significant.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP

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Some speculated that he’d lost the edge. Others blamed his lackluster Mercedes chassis or Schumacher's inability to come to grip with the slick tires. His younger teammate, Nico Rosberg, outperformed him almost every week, but most fans and pundits waited each week to see if the real Schumacher appeared.

He never did, at least not for an entire race weekend. In time Schumacher won’t be remembered for his comeback. The last three years will forever be shadowed by his seven world titles and 91 grand prix trophies on his mantle.

Next: moment #12 and Previous: moment #14

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Ross Brawn , Nico Rosberg
Teams Mercedes
Article type Special feature
Tags brawn, mercedes, michael schumacher, nico rosberg, special feature, top moment, world champion