Four-time WTCC champion Yvan Muller says he had offers to stay in the series in 2017 but turned them down, as he feels now is "the right moment" to retire.
The 47-year-old, who will conclude an 11-year career in the WTCC this weekend in Qatar, is on course to finish second in the drivers' championship barring disaster.
“It’s a special weekend,” said Muller. “For the first time, when I jump in the car, I’m thinking to myself 'this is one of the last times I will jump in this car'.
"This is the first time I’ve felt like this for 37 years. But I feel good with that. It’s the right moment to do it."
The Frenchman said he had options to remain on the grid for next year, but came to the decision himself to stop racing some months ago.
“I had some proposals for next year, but I decided myself [to stop],” Muller said. “I always wanted to decide at the end of my career when to stop.
"I won’t say I will never race again forever, but I don’t want to do any more full seasons as a race driver at a level like it is here.”
The 48-time WTCC race winner added that the state of the championship isn’t a concern for him, despite only two manufacturers having committed for next season.
“Everything is cyclical,” said Muller. “The fact that Citroen is pulling out doesn’t help, but it’s still a world championship. OK, there are only two manufacturers for 2017, but we never know for the future. We have to stay positive.
"In WRC it was not much better a few years ago. There were plenty of years where only seven or eight cars were doing the full season, OK, you don’t see it because it’s not happening on a grid, but it still happened, so why can’t the WTCC do it?”
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes