Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One's supremo, believes Michael Schumacher made a mistake in returning to the sport with Mercedes, because he showed he was a mere mortal rather than a hero.
The 43-year-old German, who won a record seven world titles and 91 grands prix, originally retired at the end of the 2006 season.
Schumacher was tempted back to the sport by the German marque in 2010, but managed just one podium finish in his three seasons with the Silver Arrows before hanging up his helmet at the end of the 2012 season.
And Ecclestone feels Schumacher damaged his legacy. "I would rather he had stopped as a seven-time world champion than stopping now," Ecclestone said.
"People who have joined the F1 fan fraternity just recently will remember Michael now, not as he was. They don't see the hero that he was but the human that can fail. The important thing is – and this is probably difficult – to know when you can't do what you used to do any more and then hand it over to somebody else, I hope that's what I can do: when I feel I can't deliver, I will certainly say goodbye."
Ecclestone acknowledged Schumacher would be a loss to the paddock. He said: "We will miss Michael because, even though he wasn't winning races in those three years, he is still very popular."
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