Nico Rosberg has stunned the motor racing world by announcing his retirement from the sport, just five days after winning the World Championship.
Rosberg says he made the decision on Monday evening, after partying until 9am that morning and flying to Kuala Lumpur for a PR event. He announced it at a press conference ahead of tonight’s FIA Awards in Vienna.
His decision leaves Mercedes with the difficult task of replacing him, although it obviously has Pascal Wehrlein on hand as a back-up. Getting a big name driver out of an existing contract looks like being a tricky task.
Here is Rosberg’s full official statement.
“Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my ‘one thing’ to become Formula One World Champion,” he said. “Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. My strongest emotion right now is deep gratitude to everybody who supported me to make that dream happen.
“This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough. I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fuelled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before. And of course that had an impact on the ones I love, too – it was a whole family effort of sacrifice, putting everything behind our target. I cannot find enough words to thank my wife Vivian; she has been incredible. She understood that this year was the big one, our opportunity to do it, and created the space for me to get full recovery between every race, looking after our daughter each night, taking over when things got tough and putting our championship first.
“When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became World Champion. On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start. I wanted to enjoy every part of the experience, knowing it might be the last time… and then the lights went out and I had the most intense 55 laps of my life. I took my decision on Monday evening. After reflecting for a day, the first people I told were Vivian and Georg [Nolte, from Nico’s management team], followed by Toto.
“The only thing that makes this decision in any way difficult for me is because I am putting my racing family into a tough situation. But Toto understood. He knew straight away that I was completely convinced and that reassured me.
“My proudest achievement in racing will always be to have won the world championship with this incredible team of people, the Silver Arrows.
“Now, I’m just here to enjoy the moment. There is time to savour the next weeks, to reflect on the season and to enjoy every experience that comes my way. After that, I will turn the next corner in my life and see what it has in store for me…”
8 responses to “Rosberg retirement stuns F1 world”
Wow! I am even happier for Nico than I was last weekend. His championship win has come at the perfect time and now he can focus on his young family and enjoy his achievements without pressure.
And we have a great story to keep us going until 2017 testing begins. Will Mercedes try & poach a star driver or opt for a new / rising talent? My bet would be that they won’t go for an established star. Lewis has been feeling hurt this year – mechanic swaps, reliability gremlins, poor starts, and feeling unsupported for his tactics in the last race. This is an opportunity to make him feel like number one, massage his ego, have him totally relaxed, and bring in a driver that might be a champion contender in a couple of years. Toto and the Mercedes board might welcome a year without ‘political’ drama overshadowing the on track action too!
Heck of a year for Nico. Took nerves of steel to win WDC and took equal amount to walk away. Good on him.
While on one hand you have to respect his decision, on the other and, what would he have done and where would his head have been had he lost the WC?
Separate subject (and a little crass) how much money will this cost him? His salary and sponsorships opportunities are vast.
He had contract for 2017 & 2018 on better terms than previously (closer to Hamilton’s salary), so minimum 30 million, probably 40+. Respect for not just turning up and taking the money.
What a scramble for that prized empty seat at Mercedes. Many drivers are locked into 2017 agreements anyway, Wehrlein seems the obvious candidate.
Would Mercedes try to buy/negotiate a driver out of a existing contract? Bottas? Williams does use Mercedes engines, a deal could be done.
Just a feeling of complete shock. Although he’s done one or two things I found borderline on the track, it takes a lot of balls to stop when you’re at the very top of your profession. I’m sure the next championship would have been easier for him, and I’m impressed – without knowing the chap – if he is willing to sacrifice an even brighter F1 future for his family. Respect, good luck and best wishes for the future!
Our loss is Nico’s gain. I suspect we will see him in a Mercedes cab in DTM in a year or two.
Regarding Nico’s replacement I’m leaning in the direction Mick stated, bringing in a young gun to hone his craft and eventually become a WDC post Lewis. It would also reduce the pschyodramas of 2 warriors chasing the same prize, a Wehrlien would become a defacto No.2 in support of the mfg championship, as long as he could consistently score points.
Shit, in an MB F1 car any of us could score points! 🙂