Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he wishes Michael Schumacher never returned from retirement.
“I would rather he had stopped as a seven time world champion than stopping now,” F1 chief executive Ecclestone told the sport’s official website.
“People new to the sport … will remember Michael now, not as he was. They don’t see the hero that he was but the human that can fail,” he said.
Ecclestone, 82, said choosing the right moment to quit is “important”.
“I hope that’s what I can do: when I feel I can’t deliver, I will certainly say goodbye,” he promised.
Ecclestone acknowledged, however, that it is the fact Schumacher is such a “competitive guy” that meant he could not stay away.
Indeed, after initially quitting F1 in 2006, he soon turned his hand to competitive motorcycle racing and only narrowly escaped serious injury.
And Schumacher, 43, was back on two wheels at the weekend.
At France’s Paul Ricard circuit, he lapped with British TT star John McGuiness, according to Bild newspaper.
“He is the godfather of motor sport,” McGuiness is quoted as saying. “And the great man can ride a bike.”