Formula-One driver Michael Schumacher and his wife Corinna poses for photographers as they arrive for the GQ gala 'Men of the Year' in Berlin on October 29, 2010. AFP PHOTO / BRITTA PEDERSEN GERMANY OUT

Former world champion Michael Schumacher has insisted his poor season is his own fault - and has nothing to do with the Mercedes car - with the 43-year-old set to retire at the end of the season.

Earlier this month, Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche blamed Schmacher's disappointing return to Formula One on the German team's underperforming car.

Schumacher, 43, returned to Formula One in 2010 with Mercedes after a four-year hiatus, but the seven-times world champion has failed again to make an impact on the world drivers' championships, where he is currently 14th.

Schumacher said: “As racing drivers, we are independent of the cars. The fact things didn't go as well for me as planned is my fault, not that of the team.

“What is important though is to be able to look in the mirror and be able to say that I gave all I had. And I can do that.

“I can leave Formula One with my head held high.”

Having won the last of his world titles in 2004, Schumacher said he was looking forward to his freedom, with his last race set to be the Brazilian Grand Prix on 25 November in Sao Paulo.

“Above all, I am looking forward to spending time with my family,” he said. “How often has my wife gone off to a riding tournament, which I couldn't go to, because I was off to a race? That has bothered me more and more recently.

“There is only so much time a sportsman can perform at the highest level.”

“This time I have already extended my stay longer than most.”

Regardless of his performances over the last three seasons, Schumacher will still walk away from Formula One as the sport's most successful driver.

“My mission is over, so I can go back to the happy period of my life which I enjoyed during my first retirement.”

Since his second retirement was announced on 4 October 4, Schmacher said he has been looking forward to the end of the season - and his subsequent freedom - with “great anticipation”. - AFP