Schumacher to retire after Brazilian Grand Prix

He made the announcement after winning the Italian Grand Prix.
MONZA, Italy (AP) -- Michael Schumacher climbed to the top of the podium, where he has been so many times. He took a long look at the sea of red-clad Ferrari fans below, and told them what they didn't want to hear.
He was retiring from Formula One after the season, ending one of the great careers in sports, let alone auto racing. Fittingly enough, his announcement Sunday came after he won the Italian Grand Prix.
"The day has to come, and I felt this was the moment," the 37-year-old German said. "After the checkered flag I came on the radio and told all my friends in the team what I was about to announce, and it was really difficult to keep my emotions under control."
Seven-time world champ
The same could be said for the fans of the seven-time world champion. After his 90th career victory and fifth at Monza -- in which he drew within two points of leader Fernando Alonso with three races left -- they pleaded for a change of heart.
"Michael, please don't leave," one banner read. Another said: "Schumi + Ferrari eternal love."
"You could feel the love they have for Ferrari," Schumacher said. "If I had to talk about that decision at that moment, I would not have managed to get the words out of my mouth."
He will leave the sport following the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Oct. 22.
"It's the end of an era," said Red Bull driver David Coulthard, one of the drivers who has competed against Schumacher the longest.
Ferrari plans to announce a "new role" for Schumacher at the end of the season.
"I always said that the day I will retire I will just do nothing for a while," Schumacher said. "Then I will see what my mind will be. I will always be part of the Ferrari family."
Schumacher said he wanted to make the decision now so teammate Felipe Massa could work out his future with the team. Ferrari also said Massa will continue next season alongside Kimi Raikkonen, who moves over from McLaren-Mercedes. Raikkonen, who was on the pole, finished second Sunday while Robert Kubica was third.
JOLIET, Ill. -- Sam Hornish Jr.'s strategy was simple: Stay out of trouble and avoid mistakes. He did just that Sunday and claimed his third IRL series championship.
While Dan Wheldon beat Target Chip Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon by 0.1897 seconds to win the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway, Hornish finished third, 0.2323 seconds behind. But he celebrated a championship.
"I can't think of how next year could be any better, but hopefully, it is," said Hornish, the series winner in 2001 and 2002 for Panther Racing.
Hornish and Wheldon finished the season with 475 points, but Hornish had four victories -- two more than Wheldon. And he did enough Sunday to give Marlboro Team Penske owner Roger Penske his first title and claim a $1 million bonus.
"When we came over to the IRL, our goal was to win a championship," Penske said. "The guy sitting on my right [Hornish] beat us the first two years -- beat us like a drum. To get him on the team and then deliver here is pretty special. ... This is another one for the record books. But we've got to do it next year."
The day began with Penske driver Helio Castroneves holding a one-point lead over Hornish with 431, with Wheldon and Dixon 19 and 21 points back, respectively. Castroneves was fourth on Sunday and finished the season with 473 points, while Dixon was fourth at 460.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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