F1 world champ Rosberg’s shock retirement announcement

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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Peter Riva

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

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

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

Negative Camber

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

JasonSCarter

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

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

or in dubious qualifying practices.

https://vimeo.com/96710217

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

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

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

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

Do not compare Kaumi to Max. Please.

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

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

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

LOL :-)

xorpheous

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

Comment of the week award right here! LOL!

AT555

My exact sentiments. ROFL!!!

xorpheous

comment image

The Captain

Perfect!

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

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

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

Waiting for the Danica rumors to start….

Achim

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

JasonSCarter

Milka Duno!

Negative Camber

No on is suggesting Pastor?

Haggis

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

Paul KieferJr

Not only no, but HELL NO!!!

Negative Camber

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

Junipero Mariano

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

charlie white

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

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

JasonSCarter

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

T-Batwoman

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

Junipero Mariano

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

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!

Junipero Mariano

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

AT555