ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 8, 2011 (AFP) - Michael Schumacher gave a broad hint on Sunday that he is no longer enjoying Formula One as he once did - and sparked widespread rumours that he may be considering ending his career.
The 42-year-old German, seven-times world champion, finished a disappointed 12th in the Turkish Grand Prix for Mercedes after a race filled with scraps and battles.
His team-mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg finished fifth. Schumacher said: "From where we came, going forward is always better than still having to defend going backwards and mostly I was able to go forward, but the big joy is not there right now, except some action, that's about it.
"I said before the race that there was going to be some action and indeed I had lots of action. "But, I guess I was responsible myself to have the result that I had because with (Vitaly) Petrov I guess it was mostly my mistake what happened there.
"I need to analyse it, because it was a bit strange that suddenly we got together and I lost my front wing. "Anyway the race was a given from there, lots of fighting, lots of action, but for nothing. The golden helmet, that's what we call it in Germany, that's what I got and nothing else, so it's a bit of a shame."
His comments provoked an instant reaction from many observers with Irishman Eddie Jordan, the man who gave him his 1991 debut at the Belgian Grand Prix, suggesting that he had to consider his position and his future.
Former driver Briton David Coulthard also told the BBC that when the joy and pleasure was taken out of the job he knew it was time for him to retire.
Schumacher's Mercedes team chief Ross Brawn said: "We'll look at the race and see. It was unfortunate because he seemed to have less problems with the tyres in the race, but he was often caught up with a lot of traffic."
He added that he felt Mercedes needed to reprioritise their race preparations during a grand prix weekend.
"We knew we had a little bit of vulnerability on high fuel so I think we are going to have to think again about how we approach priorities over the weekend because, when we got into the race, we started blistering the rear tyres which we hadn't seen in practice.
"That's why we fell away so quickly."Rosberg said: "I was really disappointed at the beginning but then in the end I was still in the fight with the McLarens, I passed Jenson (Button) for fifth and so the day was not too bad."