Having been employed with Ferrari for 14 years, Michael Schumacher’s departure from the Scuderia was harmonious, but the German has acknowledged the challenge in driving against the team with whom he represented for so long.
Ferrari president Luca do Montezemelo admitted that his team would never stand in Schumacher’s way if he elected to return to F1 with another team.
Schumacher said: "My thoughts initially go to Ferrari. I’m very pleased that the split-up goes off that harmoniously and that we are still on friendly terms with each other.
"I would really like to thank Luca di Montezemolo and the whole Ferrari team big time for the time we spent together and for giving me the opportunity to leave Ferrari in friendship. It’s such deeds that make up a true friendship, as even though the contract has not yet been signed, we had promised each other to further cooperate by shaking hands. I will always carry a big part of Ferrari in my heart and I will never forget the sympathy and passion of the ‘tifosi’. They supported my all over the world with their devotion – thank you very much for that!
"I didn’t take this decision lightly at all, especially because of that. Ferrari and I have been working together for 14 years and I’ve experienced a lot of great moments with the team during this time. Most of my life as a Formula 1 driver is ‘red’ and so there is strong solidarity and loyalty to these guys who have accompanied me and have always built great cars for me. This solidarity will remain, even though our teams will be competitors on the race track – because I’m certain that Ferrari will regain its former strength since the crew is really strong and committed."
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