Michael Schumacher has ruled out returning to the formula one paddock as a television pundit.
It is an occupation now enjoyed by a number of the seven time world champion’s rivals, like former teammates Martin Brundle and Johnny Herbert, and even his title nemesis Damon Hill.
But, although now returning to retirement after three final years with Mercedes, Schumacher is not coming back to occupy a microphone.
“That would not be my thing,” he told Bild newspaper. “First, things move so fast in formula one that even I am already a long way behind, and that is not my style,” said the 44-year-old legend.
“Secondly, once again I would be away from my family, and not even having the fun of driving.”
So, asked what he will be doing when the cars line up on the Melbourne grid without him next weekend, Schumacher answered: “At home, watching TV.”
Unable to find a race seat for his F1 return, Jaime Alguersuari has signed up for a season of kart racing.
Spain’s El Confidencial reports that the former Toro Rosso driver will combine his continuing role as Pirelli test driver with a seat in the powerful KZ kart category of the European championship.
“The truth is that I miss competition and so I will compete in what most resembles a Formula One car,” said the 22-year-old. “I don’t know if I will return to formula one but I don’t want to believe that my career is over at twenty two,” added Alguersuari.
It has also emerged that the newly re-retired Michael Schumacher is returning to kart racing, and will contest the WSK Euro Series race at Ialy’s La Conca circuit for Tony Kart.
Curiously, one of his competitors this weekend will be Max Verstappen, the 15-year-old son of his former Benetton teammate, Dutchman Jos Verstappen.
Now back in retirement, Michael Schumacher will return to his karting roots in 2013.
In the days after the seven time world champion’s last grand prix late last year, we reported that the 44-year-old had signed up to be a test driver for the Italian kart maker Tony Kart this year.
Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo newspaper reports that the great German will in fact be racing in 2013.
Preparing for his new race seat in the KZ category, Schumacher was testing his Tony Kart at the Lonato circuit in Italy last week and – reportedly – his laptimes were “very good”.
Meanwhile, the Kolner Express newspaper reports that – with Hermann Tilke on board as designer – Schumacher has commissioned a new world championship-standard karting circuit near Cologne.
“We will build the best track in Europe,” Gerhard Noack is quoted as saying.
Tilke confirmed: “The plans are ready.”
Money was “a factor” in Mercedes’ failure to succeed during his three-year comeback, Michael Schumacher insists.
The German marque openly admits that it does not spend as much on its Brackley based works team than top teams like Red Bull and Ferrari.
Schumacher told Auto Motor und Sport: “It’s a factor. Over the years Red Bull built an infrastructure and has a budget giving them the possibility to respond to anything in the best possible way.
“It is nothing more or less than what we had at Ferrari,” said the 44-year-old, who won five titles for the Maranello based team last decade.
Mercedes, never higher than fourth in the constructors’ championship since the Brawn buyout in 2010, has denied it is now pumping in more funding for 2013 and beyond. It has, however, replaced Schumacher with 27-year-old Lewis Hamilton. Briton Hamilton has said he wants to turn Mercedes into a top team.
“I know that deep in his heart he wants to win all the time,” team boss Ross Brawn is quoted by Germany’s Die Welt, “but he must also understand the course of development we are on at the moment.”
Niki Lauda, the new non-executive chairman, agrees: “I prefer a sober analysis of the situation rather than promising something we cannot deliver.”
But Hamilton’s teammate Nico Rosberg insists that, although car development appeared to stall in the second half of 2012, Mercedes is making progress.
“If you walked through the factory today, you would see a massive improvement compared to three years ago,” said the German, who is six months younger than Hamilton.
Michael Schumacher’s comeback would have been successful at the wheel of a top car, according to Bernie Ecclestone.
“If he had had a Red Bull or a Ferrari, Michael would have won again,” the F1 chief executive told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
“He should have demanded more guarantees, because it was his (Mercedes) car (to blame) and now his reputation has been tainted,” added Ecclestone.
In a new interview with Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, Schumacher – who turns 44 on Thursday – didn’t want to say he would have definitely won races in a Red Bull.
The seven time world champion said: “I would agree that if I was in a car like that, I would be running with those (top) guys.
“Whether I would win races in the current Red Bull or McLaren is a good question,” said Schumacher, who won a record 91 races in his ultra-successful first career.
“You don’t just get in a car and win immediately. Could I go as fast in a custom Vettel car as I could in a custom Schumacher car? Probably not,” he admitted.
Michael Schumacher has admitted his fitness could slip now that he is returning to retirement. But the great seven time world champion, who after almost two decades on the F1 grid is now retiring for a second time, told his fans not to worry about him.
“Why would anyone worry what Michael Schumacher is going to do when he stops?” the 43-year-old is quoted by RTL. “He has a family and is just happy to spend time with them and not have too many plans.
“And, anyway, my calendar will be full next year.”
Schumacher would not say what those plans are, but sources insist he has totally ruled out a management role, such as to replace Mercedes’ departing Norbert Haug.
The German joked that, the next time some fans see him, he might have grown a “small belly”.
Luca di Montezemolo used Ferrari’s end-of-season event at Valencia to criticise former team driver Michael Schumacher as well as F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
Directing his attention to German Schumacher, who won five consecutive drivers’ titles at Ferrari, president Montezemolo admitted he was unhappy the now-retired Mercedes driver moved over so readily at Interlagos for his countryman Sebastian Vettel.
In Brazil, Ferrari’s new ‘number 1′ Fernando Alonso was fighting for the drivers’ title with Red Bull’s champion.
“I was expecting a slightly different final race on the part of Michael Schumacher because he is a driver with links to Ferrari through some extraordinary moments and with whom we feel very close,” said Montezemolo.
The Ferrari president, however, saved his real vitriol for Bernie Ecclestone, who last week described Ferrari’s questioning of the outcome of the 2012 championship as a “joke”.
The affair surrounded an overtaking move by Vettel that, although ultimately declared legal by the FIA, was questioned by Ferrari in the days after the Brazilian finale.
Insisting Ferrari remains highly critical of F1 regulations including the emphasis on aerodynamics and a lack of testing, Montezemolo said: “Since some people have used the expression ‘It’s a joke’ in recent days, I would like to say that this is the real ‘joke’.”
As for 82-year-old Ecclestone’s criticism of the yellow flag saga, Montezemolo – who is 65 – said: “My father always taught me that you have to have respect for your elders, above all when they reach the point that they can no longer control their words.
“So I will stop there. Certainly, old age is often incompatible with certain roles and responsibilities.”