On October 4 one year ago at the Grand Prix in Suzuka Michael announced his retirement from active Formula 1 racing. The GP in Suzuka will be staged the coming weekend, so it is time for a little resume.
Michael, one year ago you announced your retirement at the race in Suzuka. Do you regret that move, looking back now?
“Regret? Not for one second. I loved F1, F1 was my life for a very long time but it was always clear that there would be a phase after it some time. After 3 years of build up at Mercedes this new pase had come; I just did not feel the energy anymore to go on. I spent half of my life in F1, and I look back with a lot of happiness.”
But looking back, was the Comeback with the Mercedes F1 Team a mistake maybe? Result-wise, those 3 years have been quite dissappointing.
“No. Of course we all had expected more, that’s without doubt. But then the team did not look as good as expected either, and this is why restructuring and buildup took us longer than thought. Still, I loved this challenge as much as working with this team. Satisfaction is not all about success. For me, it was a bit like coming back home, and I look forward to being involved with Mercedes-Benz in the next years even if in a totally different role.”
Does this role have to do a lot with F1?
“My role is a complex one, and at the moment it is mostly about pushing the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive systems. Those are things I love, as I have been fighting for more safety already in my F1-years, as did I play with the electronic aids. I can only support that any car driver will benefit to a big extend from those systems.”
In the meantime things are going much better for the F1 Team as well – do you watch this with mixed feelings?
“I am happy about it! I know those guys, I know how hard they work, and this is why I am happy fort hem. Plus I know how hard we worked together in the past years in order to create a base for attacking. For me, it is as satisfying as for the rest of the team to see this work finally paying off.”
Finally, what are you actually doing in your new life?
“Very simple, I enjoy my time. Finally the focus is not on my activities but on those of my family, and we are very active together. There is no time to get bored. Apart from that, I am obviously working in various projects for my partners which I like a lot too. To cut it short: we are more than fine.”