(Reuters) - Michael Schumacher could literally ride off into the sunset when he retires from Formula One next month after revealing a plan to take up competitive cowboy-style riding.
The seven-times world champion, now 43, told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper in an interview on Thursday that his wife Corinna, a keen horsewoman, had suggested a possible future direction.
“I‘m thinking of getting involved in Western Riding competitions,” declared the German. “Corinna, who has been doing these events for years, has already chosen the right horse for me. I’ll give it a try...”
The Mercedes driver, who is a fan of cowboy shirts and boots and owns a ranch with his wife in Switzerland, said he had no plans to continue driving in any other motorsport series after this year.
“Formula One offers the maximum in terms of emotion, speed, and complete work. Any other kind of car would not give me the same emotions. I am stopping here completely,” he said.
The former Ferrari driver said he was pleased his friend and former team mate Felipe Massa was staying at the Italian team next season.
He also expressed divided loyalties in the title battle between his friend and compatriot Sebastian Vettel, the double champion leading the standings for Red Bull, and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
On the rumoured prospect of Vettel joining Ferrari in 2014, Schumacher said that every driver - as he had done - felt the need for new challenges.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Clare Fallon