Michael Schumacher reckons his second Formula 1 farewell at Interlagos this weekend will be "less emotional" than his original retirement at the end of 2006.
The seven-time champion's F1 comeback with Mercedes comes to an end in Brazil after three seasons that did not live up to expectations. In 2006 he was embroiled in a title fight with Fernando Alonso up to his last race. This time Schumacher is only 15th in the standings and has not scored any points since September's Italian Grand Prix. But he said that will allow him to take a more relax approach to his F1 goodbye and to properly "savor" it this time.
"My departure from Formula 1 will probably be less emotional for me this time than in 2006, when we were still fighting for the championship and everything was much more intense," said Schumacher. "This time around, I will be able to pay more attention to my farewell and hopefully savor it, too.
"I have had fantastic years in Formula 1 and a lot of support from fans around the world, and I wish to particularly thank them for that. Of course, I would be happiest if I could say goodbye with a strong race, and I am sure we will be doing everything we can to make it happen."
Schumacher had intended his 2006 exit to be permanent, but after three seasons in retirement he was tempted to reunite with former Benetton and Ferrari boss Ross Brawn in his new Mercedes project. Although the team took its first win with Nico Rosberg in China this year, Schumacher has only been able to secure one podium finish during his Mercedes stint.
Brawn is confident Mercedes has established foundations for a more competitive future in that time, and paid tribute to Schumacher's contribution.
"It will be an emotional weekend for everyone in the team," Brawn said. "We have both greatly enjoyed and benefited from working with Michael over the past three years, and I would like to pay tribute to his enduring commitment, passion and team spirit.
"The results that we all hoped for over that period have not come to fruition, however the progress that our team has made has been significant, and I am confident that we will see the rewards in seasons to come.
"Having worked with Michael for the majority of the 21 seasons of his career, I feel that he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Formula 1 driver of all time, and we wish him the very best with his future plans."
Lewis Hamilton will replace Schumacher at Mercedes next season.