Seven-time Formula One World Championship winner Michael Schumacher has announced that he will retire at the end of the current season.

He made the announcement after beating arch-rival Fernando Alonso and winning the 2006 Italian Grand Prix.

The victory was the 90th in his illustrious career, where he broke almost any F1 record worth breaking.

In the press conference he said "what motorsport has given me over the last 30 years, I have loved every minute of it."

There will likely never be a driver that matches his caliber. He will be missed greatly.

Below is a full statement:

Michael Schumacher will retire from race driving at the end of the 2006 World Championship Whatever the final result of this year's championship, Michael leaves Formula 1 holding almost all the records. To date, he has taken seven Drivers' world titles and has contributed to the same number of team wins in the Constructors' Championship. He has taken part in 247 Formula 1 Grands Prix (178 of them at the wheel of a Ferrari,) won 90 (71,) been on pole 68 (58) times, setting 75 (52) fastest race laps. He has amassed a total of 1354 points, 1051 of them in a Maranello car. No one in the world of motor racing has done better.

Following his decision, the only record that will elude him is the one for the number of race starts. He will be able to reach the 250 mark, just six short of the record held by Riccardo Patrese. Schumacher has been with Scuderia Ferrari for eleven seasons, a demonstration of loyalty without equal in Formula 1, to date securing five of his Drivers' titles here and contributing to six of the team's Constructors' titles. No other driver has ever won as much with the Scuderia.

"I had always said that the decision to retire would be his alone, but now that decision has been taken, I feel a sense of sadness," commented Ferrari President and CEO, Luca di Montezemolo. "We have lived through some unforgettable times together, some good some bad, achieving results that will be hard to equal. To Michael goes the thanks of everyone in the company and supporters of Ferrari for all the dedication he has shown to our colours, for the determination and courage with which he has worked, which has provided immense satisfaction. He is both sincere and passionate and has earned the affection of all of us and of our fans. His relationship with Maranello will continue, albeit in a different form and I am very happy about that."

"Michael has been the author of a unique chapter in the history of Formula 1 and of Ferrari in particular. It has yet to reach its conclusion and what he has achieved extends over and above the results obtained," added Managing Director, Jean Todt. "He is an exceptional man and will become a legend as a driver. For me personally, he is a great friend and together we have lived through unrepeatable experiences. Having had the opportunity to work alongside him has been and will continue to be a privilege."

"Words are not enough and whatever I could say now will never fully express how much I love this fascinating world of motor sport and all it has given me," said Michael Schumacher. "From go-karting to Formula 1, I have lived through moments that I will never forget. I am profoundly grateful for everything I have had. I want to thank everyone who has accompanied me, supported and inspired me, right back to the days of my childhood. Above all, a special thanks goes to Corinna and our two children, who have given me the strength to do what I have done. All these years in Formula 1 have been amazing, especially those spent alongside my friends in the Scuderia. Soon my future will belong to my family, while I am happy to be still part of Ferrari. But for now, what matters is this world championship."

At the end of the year, as is traditional, we will announce the new team organization, which will also include a definition of Michael's new role.