|© AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
Following the announcement that Michael Schumacher would quit Formula 1 at the end of the season, Mercedes commended the efforts of the German driver in assisting the team to develop.
The seven-time world champion will mark an end to his F1 career for good after his contract beyond 2012 was not renewed, but the Brackley-based outfit acknowledged that the 43-year-old has been instrumental for the German manufacturer.
Team principal Ross Brawn worked with Schumacher for several years, which included the dominant stint at Ferrari, and the declaration made on Thursday was an emotional one for the Englishman.
“We have enjoyed so many experiences together during our time at Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes, and I feel very proud, honoured and privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Michael so closely,” Brawn said.
“In my opinion, he is the greatest Formula 1 driver, and the records which he holds in our sport speak volumes for his success and commitment,” he pointed out.
Brawn admitted that the performance at Mercedes may not be much to write about but believed that a solid foundation has now been laid.
“We have not achieved the results that we would have wished during this time; however Michael’s contribution to our development and the future of our team has been significant,” he noted.
Schumacher began his professional racing career in 1989 as a member of the Mercedes Junior Team in Group C Prototypes, and is set to conclude it at the end of this season with the Mercedes F1 team.
“For our brand, he was and remains not just a first-class racing driver and, through his record until 2006, the most successful of all time; but also a global idol and, last but not least, a great company ambassador who is admired across the world,” noted Mercedes Motorsport boss Norbert Haug.