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2012-12-10 08:14

STILL GOING STRONG: Bernie Ecclestone reckons Michael Schumacher made a mistake by returning to F1 for a second time.

Author: Alan Baldwin

 
LONDON, England - Michael Schumacher should have stayed in retirement rather than risked his reputation in a disappointing Formula 1 comeback with Mercedes, Bernie Ecclestone has said.

 on Friday, December 7, 2012.

"I would rather he'd stopped as a seven-times World champion than stopping now," he asserted on Friday (Dec 7, 2012). "People new to the sport - people who have joined the F1 fan fraternity just recently - will remember Michael now, not as he was. They don't see the hero that he was but the human that can fail.”

SECOND RETIREMENT

Schumacher retired for the second time after finishing seventh in the season-ending 2012 Brazilian GP. In three years with Mercedes, he had but one podium finish and no wins to add to his record tally of 91.

The 43-year-old German first retired in 2006 while with Ferrari and after five Drivers' titles in a row to add to the two championships he won with Benetton in the 1990's.

Ecclestone, whose own future at the helm of the sport has been increasingly questioned as legal problems accumulate and he gets older, drew a parallel with his own situation although he made clear he had no plans to retire.

"The important thing is to know when you can't do what you used to do any more and then hand over to somebody else. I hope that's what I can do: when I feel I can't deliver, I will certainly say goodbye.

"Probably the bad thing with me is that I put in lots of effort to build F1 the way it is now, so this is my baby and I want to look after it. Sooner or later we're going to have to get a babysitter. When that will be, who knows? I'm in very good shape."

'UNFINISHED BUSINESS'

Ecclestone said F1 would continue to explore new frontiers, with Russia's Sochi the next new race to be added to the calendar in 2014 now that a GP in New Jersey had been postponed for 2013.

"I suppose the next big thing will be Russia. Then we have to get this New York thing picking up again. There's lots of unfinished business - no time to waste one thought on retirement."

The Briton hailed the debut of a new race in Austin, Texas, in 2012 as "phenomenal" and "perfectly prepared" and sent a warning to European circuits that they needed to sharpen up their act.

"Maybe we'll get the Europeans to wake up instead of thinking that it (an F1 race) is a god-given thing. When Europeans perform and do their job we are happy to stay.”

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