F1 world champ Rosberg’s shock retirement announcement

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Chances are, you’d have to be a Mercedes insider and executive or Lewis Hamilton to not be surprised by Friday’s shock announcement that the recently-crowned Formula World Champion, Nico Rosberg, will retire from the sport with immediate effect. It certainly caught me off guard and to be fair, the worldwide press as well as no one was even whispering that he may retire at the end of this season.

Nico said:

“I want to take the opportunity to announce that I have decided to end my Formula 1 career in this moment here,” said Rosberg.

“It’s hard to explain, it has been ever since I started when I was six years old, I had a very clear dream and that was to become Formula 1 world champion.

“Now I’ve achieved that, I’ve put everything into it for 25 years of racing and with the help of everybody around me, with the help of fans and the help of my team and my family and friends I have managed to achieve that this year.

“So it has been an incredible experience for me that I will remember forever.

“At the same time, it has been very very tough also because the last two years losing to Lewis were extremely difficult moments for me, which fuelled my motivation in a way that I didn’t even know was possible to fight back and to achieve my dream finally.”

Putting this all in context, Rosberg has fought for 25 years to reach the pinnacle of motorsport, the Formula 1 world title. He’s achieved that and now, as a father and husband, he’s ready for a new chapter in his life. The mental, physical and travel stress is not something he is willing to continue doing. Some drivers, who are fathers, are still chasing multiple titles or their first title but for Nico, he came, he saw and he kicked F1’s #$$. Job done, career done, new chapter in his young life.

If you consider the last several years at Mercedes a ladder from non-competitive car to losing two titles to his teammate and finally claiming his own glory, then you can start to see he had a plan all along. His teammate, Lewis Hamilton, says he wasn’t surprised by the announcement:

“I’m probably one of the only people that it was not a surprise to,” Hamilton said at the FIA Prize Giving in Vienna.

“But that’s because I’ve known him for a long time.

“This is the first time he’s won [in their rivalry since karting] in 18 years, hence why it was not a surprise that he decided to stop.

“But he’s also got a family to focus on, having children, and Formula 1 takes so much of your time.

“We started out when we were 13 and we’d always talked about being champions.

“When I joined this team [Mercedes] Nico was there, which was again something we talked about when we were kids.

“It’s going to be very very strange, and it will be sad not to have him in the team next year.

“The sport will miss him, and I wish him all the best.”

While this sound like Lewis making himself the center of the conversation that has now moved away from his brand message space, to be perfectly fair, he’s probably right. They’ve known each other since they were young boys and Lewis is best placed to know the thought process Nico has.

Some have argued that this world title was a parting gift for Rosberg by the team and his immediate retirement has added fuel to the mobocracy conspiracy about Lewis being conspired against to lose the title to Rosberg. Perhaps Lewis’s book, in ten years, will confirm it but for now, I think Nico has achieved what he wanted.

On the surface of the news, Nico has given all he has for his motorsport career and F1 and he’s done it with a veneer that has never betrayed his ultimate intention to win the title and retire. The bigger question now is who will replace Nico and the team says it is in no rush to fill the spot.

They do have Pascal Werhlein and Esteban Ocon but the latter just signed a deal with Force India which left the former rather red-faced over the situation. Perhaps the Force India contract is porous enough to allow for Ocon to move to Mercedes and Wehrlein to Force India? If not, could this fate have played into Pascal’s hands over Esteban? Of was this the plan all along if Toto knew this was coming? Move Ocon to Force India and keep Pascal for Nico’s seat?

What about Fernando Alonso who would relish the idea of getting in a Mercedes and with the turmoil at McLaren, perhaps this is a good opportunity. There are several drivers on the grid who will be looking at their contracts with a magnifying glass trying to determine if they can legally make the call to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and inquire about the seat.

The question of when Toto knew will be a sensitive answer because if they say the team knew earlier this year, conspiracies will fly! 

For now, as a father, I appreciate Nico’s decision and wish him the very best and this does nothing to taint his world championship in my mind. Each man has to know when to say when and while some want a career in F1 and define their value via F1’s spoils, others are eager to do something else with their careers. Congratulations Nico and all the best.

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74 Comments on "F1 world champ Rosberg’s shock retirement announcement"

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Peter Riva
Guest
Peter Riva

Holy cow!
Bravo Nico!
Shut up Hamilton followers – relish next year’s clear road ahead and leave well enough alone.

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

“”This is the first time he’s won [in their rivalry since karting] in 18
years, hence why it was not a surprise that he decided to stop.” – Lewis Hamilton

Sometimes I think Hamilton wakes up and says ‘you know I bet there’s someone out there who doesn’t yet think I’m a jerk. What could I do today to change that person’s mind?’

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Nicely put, though I suspect with Hamilton its instinctive rather than a thought process ;-)

Negative Camber
Guest

IT may have taken him 18 years but Lewis still hasn’t beat him in the race for class. Good grief.

JasonSCarter
Guest
JasonSCarter

NC, this for POST OF THE WEEK! 100% agree!

jcn115
Guest
jcn115

Someone should tell Lewis that he is lying, this is not the first time that Nico has beating him. I guess he forgot the 2004 Formula 3 euro series, which Nico finished above him in the standings.

Samouri
Member
Samouri

or in dubious qualifying practices.

Boycottthebull
Guest
Boycottthebull
While I had no respect for him as a person with his tantrums and mind games I respected his abilities but this latest comment sunk him to a new low. He couldnt simply wish Rosberg the best as he moves onto a new life he had to make this pathetic childish claim that its because Nico would never be able to beat him again thats why he quit. If 15 million a year couldnt entice him to stay regardless of whether he beat Lewis or not then clearly having a live outside F1 with family and no snide arrogant teammate… Read more »
JasonSCarter
Guest
JasonSCarter

I suspect Nico will be racing next year. He is still a racer. He is just done with the stress that is F1. In what he will be racing in, who knows. Maybe with Mercedes in the German Touring Car championship? I see that as a good fit.

Now if only Kaumi Kobayashi could get another F1 shot….

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

I’d like to see Kaumi back, he invented overtaking wayyyy before Verstappen was on the scene.

JasonSCarter
Guest
JasonSCarter

As much as I would LOVE to see Kaumi back, he has a great thing with Toyota right now, however, with Audi pulling out, competition is going to be something to be desired over in WEC, so maybe he would like to change it up again!

Dave Domenicano
Guest
Dave Domenicano

Do not compare Kaumi to Max. Please.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl
Definitely a “Wow…….that makes sense” moment. Good for Nico to have the courage to walk away now he has achieved his goal. In the Mercedes interview that N.C posted he gives some insight to the effort and commitment that it has taken to compete with and beat Hamilton to a WDC. It must have been frustrating to have put in the hard yards at Mercedes, with every expectation that he’d earned the #1 driver spot, having seen off Schumacher, only to have them bring in his lifelong nemesis. Anyway the guy has intelligence, and determination amongst his many other life… Read more »
T-Batwoman
Guest
T-Batwoman

Good for Nico, he has bags of cash and a beautiful family. The speaks like 14 languages and has like 8 engineering degrees, he’ll be just fine.

And besides, why would you want to put up with childishness at work when you can get it from actual children at home.

The Captain
Guest
The Captain
Beeep “Hey Toto, It’s Fernando. I left you a message earlier, you’re probably a bit busy though, getting ready for the holidays and all. Just seeing what’s up? What a crazy season huh! We should catch up. Tell Susie I said hi! Give me a call” 20 minutes latter Beeep “Hey Toto, It’s Fernando. I just go this really cool bike you’d probably love to check out. You should come by and we can take it for a spin around the driveway. Bring Susie too and I’ll make some paella. We’ll make an evening of it. Give me a call… Read more »
jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

LOL :-)

J. Doug Patterson
Editor

I was going to comment, but yeah, this is pretty much the gist of what I was going to say, but done with far more style and panache that I could ever hope to muster.

oregonwings
Guest
oregonwings

Comment of the week award right here! LOL!

AT555
Guest
AT555

My exact sentiments. ROFL!!!

J. Doug Patterson
Editor

comment image

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

Perfect!

Achim
Guest
Achim
Respect for Nico, bold decision. I wonder if Vettels performance was bad enough so he can trigger a potential exit clause. Now would that be a pairing at Mercedes. But I see as most likely option that they buy Ocon out of the Force India deal. I’m sure they can be convinced with a bit of money. Some speculation about Bottas in the media, but I doubt it. His performance against Massa was not too spectacular. I’m wondering if they can buy Perez out of Force India. Would be a great asset for the team, but he just made a… Read more »
Negative Camber
Guest

My hunch would be that if there were no issues with contracts and such, they’d want Max but Alonso could be interesting. Not sure they want that drama though. Ocon or Pascal would be safer bet. I guess no one is thinking The GOOT has a chance. :)

Achim
Guest
Achim

Agree, but not sure about Alonso. They don’t need a driver to win the championship (they have Lewis for that), they need something for the future. As much as Alonso would want to drive to Mercedes, I doubt they are even thinking about him.
The GOOT has no chance … and they won’t “eff” with the Swede, because he just signed with Sauber again … :-)

JasonSCarter
Guest
JasonSCarter

Waiting for the Danica rumors to start….

Achim
Guest
Achim

Ha! No! Carmen Jorda!! This is it. Problem solved. I mean, the experience that she can bring to the team …

JasonSCarter
Guest
JasonSCarter

Milka Duno!

Negative Camber
Guest

No on is suggesting Pastor?

Haggis
Guest
Haggis

They would have to armor the car, and that won’t do for the brand. They’re not in the bulldozing business lol.

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

Not only no, but HELL NO!!!

Negative Camber
Guest

totally agree, I would pass on Alonso if I were Merc. They need to think post-Lewis and that means Pascal, Esteban or Max.

Member

Losing Alonso would also be devastating for McLaren, in light of recent sponsorship news.

Achim
Guest
Achim

I think Perez would be a good option for them. Still young, and proven racer, but apparently very complex sponsorship situation. Took him forever to make the new Force India deal.

Pascal and Esteban still bit of a risk, but quite possible they take one of them. Still wondering what’s up with Pascal. Did numerous tests with Force India, but they preferred Ocon.

They would take Max in a heart beat, but probably locked in at Red Bull.

Max Johnson
Guest
Max Johnson

No, constructor championship is more important to Mercedes than driver titles.

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

Could you imaging the drama with Max though. I mean we don’t have a large data set yet, but so far the only teammate Max has gotten along with is Ricciardo. And Ricciardo could probably get along with his own prison guards he’s so friendly. Not sure Max and Hamilton would work too well (and I don’t see RB ever giving him up anyway).

I’m probably wrong but the two merc kids though just don’t seem ready yet. Perhaps they might look more midfield? If contracts were not an issue Grosjean or Perez wouldn’t be a bad option.

Boycottthebull
Guest
Boycottthebull

I think Ricciardo or Hulkenberg are the only ones on the grid with the tolerant temperament to work with Hamilton. Bottas too maybe. All this talk about Wehrlein yet he is known to be one of the most difficult drivers to work with for the team itself. Any other Prima Ego is going to just be a nightmare for Mercedes management

Prakhar Mehrotra
Guest
Prakhar Mehrotra
I bet Hulkenburg is kicking himself right now. He would have been the perfect fit for Mercedes. Fast, experienced, easygoing, probably not fast enough to cause drama with Lewis, and he’s german. Similar options to Hulkenburg on the grid are Sainz, Bottas, Grosjean, Perez. Ocon and Wehrlein are too inexperienced and if Red Bull get their act together then Mercedes might need every point they can get to fight for the constructor’s. I would love to see Vettel/Alonso/Ricciardo/Max fight it out with Lewis but even if they could get out of their contracts, Toto probably wouldn’t want the drama after… Read more »
Member

Other past champions like Alain Prost had done it before him. At least Nico knows when it’s time to call it a career and walk away. Family should always be the first priority.

Negative Camber
Guest

I’m on the short list to replace Nico. Just fYI.

JasonSCarter
Guest
JasonSCarter

So is Tony Stewart. He is free next year, and has prior F1 experience with Lewis Hamilton.

T-Batwoman
Guest
T-Batwoman

I suppose he could seep into the side pods. . . . .

Member

I bet Mercedes F1 still has some pre-event-servicing-substance lying around.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

You’re my pick! With the F1B team supporting you, you’d destroy LH – Paul as driver coach, Tom for Facts and insights, Dave on analysis, and Grace handling publicity and smack talk!

Member

I’m wondering what he would do next, whether it’s the WEC or getting into business?

AT555
Guest
AT555
The whole talk about Mercedes has to think about future while selecting their driver, I don’t buy that. This would have applied under normal circumstances but this is not normal. Mercedes bosses are thinking about Constructors championship foremost, not drivers. Their number 1 priority will be to get a driver who can take fight to the now best driver pairing on the grid – Daniel and Max; and if RedBull comes up with a good car for 2017 (which very likely they will) I don’t think Merc stands a chance to win constructors with second driver being Ocon or Pascal.… Read more »
AT555
Guest
AT555

Also if Toto was too much concerned about driver relationship harmony, why did he sign Nico for two years this summer knowing how bad his r/ship can get with Lewis? Bottom line is his job is to secure Constructor’s trophy for Mercedes and he has to select a pair that will give him the best chance.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

I’d guess in resigning Rosberg, Toto/Mercedes were thinking, “they might not like each other, but we know we can manage them and they push each other to their maximum”.
Now, I wonder if Hamilton will have any veto on the new driver. He probably wouldn’t want Verdtappen, Ricciardo, Vettel or Alonso. They’d all be a match as drivers, and might have a higher profile!!!!!!!

Max Johnson
Guest
Max Johnson

Lewis is quite controversial but he also relish a challenge. So no he’s not going to be afraid of any teammates. However that can be bad for management especially trying to build a young driver like Pascal. Lewis needs another driver that matches him as teammate imo.

Schumie Toronto
Member
Schumie Toronto
Does anybody else think that this shines new light on Hammy’s sudden “illness” at the tire test and Pascal taking over early? Hmmm …. And has anybody read the Hammy article, where he’s talking about Rosberg and his retirement, but turns it into “I this and I that” … it’s all about me, me, me with this guy! He really is a complete arse all the time! Some one at Mercedes must have made him put out the one tweet congratulating Rosberg, because he’s had nothing else nice to say about him! And to The Captain – that was hilarious!… Read more »
Member

So Nico Rosberg just threw shade on himself. Instead of the Championship, he will be remembered for the shock retirement.

abrobeer
Guest
abrobeer

If Nico is going to retire plz for the love of god or the sport / crowd give the seat to Max Verstappen. Having the young gun Max challenging the Brit Lewis for the title what a shocker that could be heres one reason why he deserves the seat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEO_iWCHaPE

Max Johnson
Guest
Max Johnson

Sorry Red Bull isn’t going to allow it, and their cars next year is potentially going to be very fast anyway it would be stupid to move right now.

Boycottthebull
Guest
Boycottthebull
Maybe the should then let Ricciardo go now that Marko has his new favourite. Ricciardo is the better and more well rounded driver yet gets little praise for it from his team of fans. They prefer to see F3 push of the track passes and then claim Max is a real racer. Mercedes have had enough teammate crashes to last a lifetime they dont need Crashtappen taking Lewis out at the first corner. Mercedes didnt embarrass themselves calling Max’s dad out of respect of his racing abilities rather to try get him to tame the stupid lunge and crash moves… Read more »
abrobeer
Guest
abrobeer

If I had to choose the right driver with the biggest heart to the sport and the spectators it would be Ricciardo, I agree with you here. But Max is still the young gun and Merc group has a bigger budget and can most likely do a buyout. But can you not see the rivalry with Max as a young arrogant driver to peck on Lewis?

Todd M. Danvir
Guest
Todd M. Danvir

This makes me wonder if Nico has pulled the rug out from under Lewis with this surprise announcement. With LH’s “will he won’t he” level of commitment to the sport over the past couple seasons coupled with incidents like Wehrlein stepping in for testing this year had some speculating that LH might be the one stepping down at the end of the season.

Maybe Rosberg saw it too and decided to beat Lewis to the greatest finish line of them all, retirement.

Samouri
Member
Samouri

I feel many of Lewis’s detractors, and some haters would like him to step down, but it ain’t gonna happen, as much as you may desire. Lewis will be around to tie or make new records, and maybe another WDC or two, which I know will bring such joy to your heart.

Todd M. Danvir
Guest
Todd M. Danvir

I’m not a disliker of LH by a long shot, just making a point.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

However, now Hamilton has 3 WDC’s, and 52 GP wins, I’d be okay with him moving on to the next phase of his life. F1’s loss would be reality T.V’s gain

Samouri
Member
Samouri

I won’t, and hope that he stays in the game until he’s at least 38 years old, and with maybe more WDC’s under his belt.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

He’ll be too old for ‘the Kardashians’ or a Hip-hop career at 39, he needs to go before the opportunity closes.

Samouri
Member
Samouri

LOL!

T-Batwoman
Guest
T-Batwoman

Lewis fans really do have a chip, it could be because many of his actions are indefensible. He is a damn talented driver but he lacks in other areas.

Samouri
Member
Samouri

I don’t care what Lewis does in his private life. As long as he doesn’t assault, and physically harm other people. On the track. What as you say, are some of the indefensible actions taken by Hamilton, that can compare with the conduct of 2 drivers who are considered to be greats, and legends in the sport? Lewis has never deliberately run into a fellow competitor in order to eliminate their challenge, and the same can’t be said for both Senna and Schumacher.

T-Batwoman
Guest
T-Batwoman

There are few men on the grid anymore, they are all petulant crybabies nowadays, Lewis is one of the biggest among them.

Samouri
Member
Samouri

Is this the best example that you can come up with, regarding Lewis’s as you say.. indefensible actions.. as being petulant and a crybaby. You really need to come up with something better than that.

T-Batwoman
Guest
T-Batwoman

Not really, it’s just my opinion, if you choose not to agree that is your liberty.

Jason Smith
Guest
Jason Smith

I can’t help but wonder how much growing-up as an F1 driver’s kid and not wanting the same life for his daughter had to do with his decision. I could see him taking some time for reflection after the drama this season and asking himself “why the hell am I doing this?”

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Then again, three WDC’s in the family, that would be cool. He might be retiring to focus on her career.

Jason Smith
Guest
Jason Smith

Sadly, you’re about right… Isn’t she about 18 months old? It’s about time to start getting her serious about carting!

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Who do you think Nico was karting with to sharpen his race craft this season? You heard it hear first !

MIE
Editor

There is only one points scoring driver without a drive for 2017.

Step forward Felipe Nasr…..

Abluhwleh
Guest
Abluhwleh

Well I believe Pastor Maldonado said he’d be back in F1… just saying…

Schmorbraten
Guest
Schmorbraten

Great move by Rosberg! What I’d love to see is a team-mate that doesn’t take any s*** from Hamilton, someone who verbally rips into Hamilton just like Hamilton does when he feels he needs to big himself up again. In that respect, I think no one would be better suited to this job than Verstappen.

Guy Fawkes
Guest
Guy Fawkes

I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Jenson Button in the Merc for a year or two while Wehrlein and Ocon get a bit more experience. I know JB says he’s done, but a nice paycheck and a competitive car can be very convincing. Not sure how the personality aspect would work, however. How anyone can work with Lewis on a daily basis is beyond me.