ROME, Oct 19, 2012 (AFP) - Mercedes have insisted they do not plan to ease off in the final four races of the Formula One season to concentrate on the arrival of Lewis Hamilton from McLaren next year to replace German "fighter" Michael Schumacher.
Schumacher established himself as the most successful driver in F1 history in his 22-year career with Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes, including a three-year retirement from 2007-2009.
But the German now has just four races remaining this year with Mercedes before his retirement and the team said they are committed to a competitive finish to their season.
Team boss Ross Brawn, who masterminded all seven of Schumacher's titles - five at Ferrari and two at Benetton - said they will not switch all their resources to working on next year's car.
"We need to keep a balanced approach, I think," said Brawn. "Our chassis team are designing next year's car and there are certain directions they want to confirm.
"The aero changes on Friday morning (in Korea) with the rear wing are primarily for next year. So there is a mix. But, we don't want to sacrifice the remainder of this year while working for next year.
"We still want to have a respectable performance for the rest of the year."Schumacher took up motorcycle racing in his previous retirement, but insisted that this time said he is adamant about turning his back on motor sport.
"No, it's not in my plans," Schumacher told Gazzetta dello Sport when asked if he will race elsewhere, adding that he had no regrets at bringing down the curtain on his F1 career and his three-year stint with Mercedes.
He added: "It is a relief, because I have no regrets, just joy for what I've done. From now on, life will offer me plenty of new possibilities. I'm looking forward to them.
"If I look into my life's rear-view mirror, I find myself happy and smiling. I've had two distinct careers: one where I won everything, and a second one where I discovered what losing means.
"Yes, I've learned how to lose, but this has made me more mature and more patient too, partly thanks to my age. Today I have to consider what I have done overall and I'm satisfied with myself."
When asked how he wanted to be remembered, he said: "Everyone describes me as a racing legend. I prefer to be described as a fighter, someone who never backed down."