Revealed: The exact moment Ralf Schumacher knew it was time to retire from F1

Jamie Woodhouse
Ralf Schumacher enters the paddock on 2022 Monaco Grand Prix race day.

Ralf Schumacher enters the paddock.

Six-time F1 grand prix winner Ralf Schumacher recalled how a test with the fledgling Force India team made him decide his career was over.

Schumacher’s Formula 1 journey began with Jordan, though it was with his next team Williams that the bulk of his Formula 1 success was achieved.

In a six-season stint with Williams, Schumacher scored six grands prix victories, with a subsequent stint at Toyota failing to yield such results and proving to be the final team of his F1 career.

Ralf Schumacher asked in Force India test: ‘Do you want it?’

Schumacher made the podium three times with Toyota before leaving at the end of the 2007 season, this proving to be his final F1 appearance and, when appearing on the Formula For Success podcast, fellow ex-F1 driver David Coulthard suggested to Schumacher that his 11-season career was rather short in modern F1 standards.

To that, Schumacher replied: “Yeah, okay. But it was not so modern at that time.”

But, it turns out Schumacher had the possibility to extend his F1 career. Spyker had become Force India for 2008 and Schumacher headed to Jerez for a test ahead of potentially signing to be one of Force India’s drivers. recommends

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However, Schumacher was not liking the machinery he felt under him, so much so that he asked himself the hard-hitting questions and decided that was it for his F1 career, this was no longer justification for being away from his son.

“But I have to say, Toyota didn’t really work out,” Schumacher continued. “And after that, to have any proper teams around… I could have gone back to the old Jordan team, which was called Force India at that time.

“It just started off and I did a test in Jerez and I was supposed to do two days, and the car was… [sighs].

“And then the technical director at that time Mike [Gascoyne] was there and I was asking myself already during the day, ‘Do you want it? Do you really want to leave your son alone for this? And that’s why I stopped it.”

The Force India VJM01 did prove to be 2008’s backmarker car, though the team grew far more competitive from there, twice finishing P4 in the Constructors’ Championship before morphing into Racing Point and then their current Aston Martin identity under the ownership of Lawrence Stroll.

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