Michael Schumacher admits that he has been "counting down the days" to his second retirement from Formula 1
Seven-times Champion "a little more cool and relaxed" this time
By Mike Wise at Interlagos
Last Updated: 25/11/12 1:20pm
Six years after he first walked away from the sport, also at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Schumacher does it again after Sunday's race.
"I'm counting down the days to go to the life I have next from Formula 1 - that I've had in the years in between - and I look forward to this," he admitted on Saturday.
The contrast between farewells is stark. In 2006, Schumacher arrived at Interlagos in contention for his eighth title.
Although Fernando Alonso denied him that particular milestone, Schumacher still headed into the sunset with his head held high having driven a storming race to come through from 19th place to finish fourth.
Never mind an eighth World Championship: Schumacher never came close to winning a 92nd grand prix during his comeback. The best result he managed was a third place in Valencia earlier this year.
There was a feeling first time around that Schumacher was an unwilling retiree; that Ferrari had pushed him into the decision so they could sign Kimi Raikkonen.
That is clearly not the case this time. As the man himself said: "For me, it's different. I'm a little more cool and relaxed about it."
Of what comes next, Schumacher admitted that he does not have "concrete future plans". Besides work with long-term sponsors and a ramping up of family life once again, he mentioned the possibility of staying on at Mercedes in some capacity.
"There are good ideas and good options, so I'm pretty sure my calendar will be easily filled up," the 43-year-old said.
Of course, there is one race still to run. Mercedes might be winding down their season after a promising start, but the racer in Schumacher clearly will not be denied just yet.
His starting position of 13th on the grid has been all-too-familiar territory during the last three seasons but the prospect of a wet race gives him the chance, perhaps, to sign off with a flourish.
"There's going to be excitement, particularly with the conditions we're going to face tomorrow. I very much look forward to this because it offers more opportunities," he said.
Focused to the last, Schumacher also insisted that he would not let himself think about the circumstances during the race itself.
He added, however, that "maybe in certain moments, such as going to the grid or after the race when the chequered flag is down then, yes, there are moments when I will think about this one.
"Who knows? I might even be emotional. But, so far, there's not been too much of it."