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I was not pushed into retirement: Schumacher

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher has insisted that he was not forced into retirement by Ferrari.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2006 12:44 IST

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher has insisted that he was not forced into retirement by Ferrari.

After the German announced at Monza last weekend that he was hanging up his helmet at the end of the season, speculation had mounted that it was Ferrari's decision and not his own.

And Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone added fuel to the fire yesterday when he told Sport-Bild magazine, "Michael had to make a decision when he really didn't want to."

Rumours suggest it was Ferrari's desire to name their 2007 line-up that forced Schumacher's hand, something he strongly denies.

"Ferrari were incredibly gracious and left it all up to me to say when," said Schumacher.

"I know there has been much speculation but the timing of the announcement was right for me."

"I wondered whether to wait until the end of the year."

"I'm not getting any younger and I had to ask myself if I would be able to gear up the energy, strength and motivation that you must have in order to be able to compete at the top. Of course I'm still fit, still competitive, but would I be for a few more years?"

"Just being a mediocre driver has never been my ambition. That's not my style."

Schumacher is on the brink of leaving the sport in style as he sits just two points behind world championship leader Fernando Alonso with three races left, and a Ferrari car that has seemed far superior to the Spaniard's Renault in recent races.