Schumacher 'should not have returned'

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes Michael Schumacher would have been better off not returning to the sport following his first retirement.

Schumacher quit grand prix racing at the end of the 2006 season following a record-breaking seven titles and a total of 91 race victories.

The German made his return to F1 at the start of the 2010 season, but managed just one podium before calling time on his career following the 2012 campaign.

Ecclestone thinks fans new to the sport will remember Schumacher for his underwhelming results in his second F1 spell rather than for his unprecedented previous success.

"I would rather he had stopped as a seven-time world champion than stopping now," Ecclestone told the official Formula 1 website.

"People new to the sport - 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. 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.

"I hope that's what I can do: when I feel I can't deliver, I will certainly say goodbye."

Ecclestone admitted however that Formula 1 will still miss Schumacher.

"He enjoyed racing and was there helping to do good things for Formula 1," he said.

"We will miss Michael, because even though he wasn't winning races in those three years, he is still very popular."

The F1 boss said Schumacher's close ties with Mercedes meant he has been unable to offer him a role to stay involved in the sport.

"Well, we wouldn't and we couldn't keep him in another role because he is too close to Mercedes. It would have been easier when he was still close to Ferrari, I guess.

"He doesn't have to work, he doesn't have to worry and he can do what he wants to do. Doesn't that sound good?"