Michael Schumacher's decision to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season was dictated by the signing of Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, the seven-time world champion has confirmed.

The 43 year old came out of retirement in 2010 to join the Mercedes team but will be replaced by Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, for the 2013 season.

And instead of prolonging his illustrious career, amid talks of a move to Sauber, the German has opted to call time on his career for a second time prior to the Japanese Grand Prix and says the Brit's switch from McLaren motivated his retirement.

Michael Schumacher
Schumacher says his motivation to drive as subsided.

"The special moment is that the team have found an option with Lewis that helped me find the decision, because there was an option for me to do so at earlier stage," Schumacher said.

"I was in the picture when the negotiation was going on, but I didn't want to decide; I was not sure. Sometimes in life your destiny will develop by itself, without any hard feelings and without any regrets.

"We all know Lewis is one of the best drivers we have around and I cross fingers that we will have a successful future."

"Although I'm still able and capable to compete with the best drivers that are around but at some point it's good to say goodbye and that's what I'm doing at the end of the season - and it might this time even be for ever," Schumacher added.

"During the past month I was not sure if I still had the motivation and energy which is necessary to go on. It is not my style to do something that I'm not 100% feeling for.

"With today's decision I feel released obviously from those doubts and in the end my ambition to fight for victories and the pleasure of driving is nourished by competitiveness."

After winning five successive world titles from 2000 to 2004, Schumacher decided to retire in 2006. His return to the sport was prompt, as he became an advisor to the Ferrari team, and was close to a return in 2009, following an injury to Felipe Massa but a neck injury prevented the resumption of his F1 career.

The following season, Schumacher's permanent return to the sport was confirmed.

Arguably the greatest F1 driver in the history of the sport, Schumacher has won 91 races in his career and claimed seven world drivers' championships, the most of any driver.

In addition, Schumacher finishes his career with the joint-most consecutive wins, the most wins in an F1 season, the greatest number of pole positions and a master of many of the evocative tracks across the world, including at Monaco and Brazil.

Schumacher formed one of the great double acts in F1 racing alongside Ross Brawn during his time at Benetton and Ferrari, and latterly at Mercedes where his return was marred by driving errors and the unreliability of the Silver Arrows car.

He added just one podium position to his tally of 155 during his three year cameo return, at Valencia earlier this season, as he's been powerless to prevent the new breed including countryman Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton, his replacement at Mercedes, dominating the sport.

His aggressive nature and unrelenting competitive streak combined to produce one of the most recognisable driving styles seen in the sport.