Washington: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes seven-time Michael Schumacher made a mistake by coming out of retirement in 2010 to spend three largely unsuccessful seasons with Mercedes.
The 43-year-old German quit for a second time at the end of the 2012 campaign and will be replaced in the team by Britain`s Lewis Hamilton next season.
A solitary podium spot in the European Grand Prix at Valencia earlier this year was the highlight of Schumacher`s comeback and Ecclestone said the poor results have tarnished his image.
“I would rather he had stopped as a seven-time world champion than stopping now. People new to the sport people who have joined the F1 fan fraternity just recently -- will remember Michael now, not as he was,” the CNN quoted Ecclestone, as saying on F1’s official website.
“They don`t see the hero that he was but the human that can fail. We will miss Michael, because even though he wasn`t winning races in those three years, he is still very popular,” he added.
“I think the important thing is and this is probably difficult to know when you can`t do what you used to do anymore and then hand it over to somebody else,” he said.
Schumacher`s final season in F1 saw him finish 13th in the driver standings as fellow German Sebastian Vettel made it a hat-trick of titles in his Red Bull.
It was a far cry from his glory days at Ferrari where he won five titles and his two earlier championship successes with Benetton.