Greater Noida - Michael Schumacher is on his last visit to India as a Formula 1 driver. The seven-time World Champion says the surprising “love and warmth” of the Indian fans will stay with him forever.
Schumacher has four races left in his illustrious career following his retirement announcement at Suzuka earlier in the month.
The German, speaking ahead of the Indian Grand Prix over the weekend, made it clear this time he was quitting the sport for good.
“I don’t want to think about the future but there won’t be a third comeback for sure,” quipped the 43-year-old at the team’s hospitality area at the Buddh International Circuit here Thursday.
Race wins and podiums may have become a rarity but Schumacher continues to be the most popular driver world over.
“In India, I never thought I would be this popular. Before coming here for the first time, I thought only a small group of fans would know me. But the support is everywhere and it is definitely quite touching. The emotions run high for fans here,” said Schumacher.
Schumacher had no qualms in accepting he and Mercedes failed to deliver.
“I came back to win races and that has not what happened. It is disappointing but this what it is. Life is tough.”
So, does the struggle in the last three years affect his legacy?
“In total, the legacy still remains. I became a more experienced driver being in tough situations. I made some close friends (with Mercedes) and now I want to move on.”
Asked whether championship leader Sebastian Vettel had it in him to emulate his world titles feat, Schumacher said: “Records are meant to be broken. When Juan Manuel Fangio won it five times, everyone thought that was it.”
Schumacher won five titles in a row from 2000-04 to add to his crowns in 1994-95.