It’s an interesting issue, the Nico Rosberg retirement announcement. It caught the entire paddock and press off guard. The reality is that something like this needs definition and defining. Why, what was the prime mover behind the decision and when did Nico know he would retire. Regardless, in the quest to understand further, one seeks the comments of other drivers in similar situations. Who better than Fellow German and world champion Sebastian Vettel?
At the Ferrari Finali Mondiali, I had the opportunity to be part of the interview of both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. As you would imagine, the first questions were about Nico’s decision and Seb’s reaction to it.
Sebastian wasn’t verbose about the decision saying:
“I think everybody is free to do what he or she wants,” Sebastian said. “I respect his decision. I’m sure he’ll take time off before he goes on to do something else. Happy holiday!”
Vettel said it is quite clear that he and Kimi both have contracts for next year at Ferrari and Raikkonen added he didn’t really care what Mercedes was doing or what issues or pressure they may be under—classic Kimi.
Perhaps Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivebene had the best comment regarding Nico’s decision when he said that the sport talks of technology all of the time but we forget that we are, after all, human and he respected the decision while Ferrari CEO, Sergio Marchionne, said he sent Toto Wolff a message when he heard the news.
One thing I did notice with Sergio during this event versus previous seasons is that he was very friendly with Sebastian. More than I have seen him in the past but while you could make something out of that, I am sure it’s just their relationship is more developed over time than it was in the past. Some could argue that walking behind Seb, who was seated at the microphone, and rubbing his shoulder briskly in a friendly gesture is a kinder, gentler version of Sergio that I’ve seen of late.
I would imagine Christian Horner, Sergio and even Zak Brown/McLaren are all showing some extra love to their top drivers right now.