F1 ace Michael Schumacher has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2006 World Championship, following his victory in the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday (10 September).
The win was Schumacher's 90th GP victory overall, and his 71st behind the wheel of a Ferrari. It puts the German second in the championship, just two points behind leader Fernando Alonso, and means that he is still in with a chance of winning a record-breaking eighth title.
Even if he fails to clinch this year's championship, 37-year-old Schumacher will retire as possibly the most successful F1 driver ever. Since his F1 debut in 1991, he has taken part in 247 F1 GPs, won 90, been on pole 68 times, and has set 75 fastest race laps. The only record Schumacher will be unable to best is for the number of race starts – even if he starts all the remaining races this year, Schumi will 'only' reach the 250 mark, six short of the record held by Riccardo Patrese.
There is some good news for Ferrari fans, too – Schumacher will continue to work at Maranello, though his role there will not be announced until the end of the season.
"I want to thank everyone who has accompanied me, supported and inspired me, right back to the days of my childhood," said Schumacher. "All these years in Formula One have been amazing, especially those spent alongside my friends in the Scuderia. Soon my future will belong to my family, while I am happy to be still part of Ferrari. But for now, what matters is this world championship."
The championship continues on 8 October at Suzuka, with the Grand Prix of Japan.
For more details of Schumacher's retirement, visit our sister site at www.autosport.com.