With 91 Grand Prix victories and seven world titles under his belt as evidence of a phenomenally successful 20 years at the top of his sport, Michael Schumacher says he is ready to retire.
Mercedes announced in September that it would not be extending Schumacher's contract at the end of the season, simultaneously unveiling Lewis Hamilton - the 2008 world champion with McLaren - as their new star driver.
“I still don't have any concrete plans,'' said Schumacher ahead of his last-ever Grand Prix in Brazil on Sunday, although the 43-year old said he is looking forward to horse riding with his wife on their new 200-hectar ranch in Texas.
“Life is about passions, thanks for sharing mine with me,'' said the racing legend, having confirmed that there will be no return to racing this time, barring one last appearance to defend his title at the Race of Champions in Bangkok in December.
Schumacher originally retired in 2006 before making a spectacular comeback for Mercedes three years later at the age of 40. Yet over the last three years Schumacher has been unable to replicate his earlier victories and secured only one podium finish in 52 races, coming in third at the European Grand Prix in Valencia this summer.
''I've learned to lose,'' said Schumacher. ''But I can look in the mirror and say that I gave my all.''
According to various estimates, Schumacher has earned somewhere between €300-500 million for driving and advertising contracts over his long career. A handful of new advertising contracts show that although he will no longer be on the track, the Schumacher brand is here to stay.