Last Friday the Formula 1 world was hit with news which no one was prepared to hear. Mercedes pilot Nico Rosberg made an announcement that he’ll retire from Formula 1, effective immediately, although he has a 2-year contract with Mercedes. Who could have expected an announcement like this only 5 days after Rosberg’s coronation? I heard the news on the radio on my way home from work and my first thought was that the news must have been some kind of a joke!
In his announcement Rosberg stated that winning the world championship in Formula 1 has been his dream since he was 6 years old. He joined the F1 circus in 2006 and drove for Williams until the end of the 2009 season. Rosberg has been a part of team Mercedes ever since 2010. Rosberg and Hamilton have been teammates for four consecutive years. Hamilton won the drivers’ championship both in 2014 and 2015, which must have been extremely difficult years for Nico. Finally, Rosberg’s dream of the world championship came true this year. I can’t even imagine what kind of pressure Nico must have had coming to the title-deciding season finale in Abu Dhabi. Having accomplished his goal, he feels he has no motivation to continue his career in F1. What a brave decision indeed!
Rosberg has competed in Formula 1 for 11 years, and the German is only 31 years old. In terms of age, he would still have had many years to continue his career in the pinnacle of motorsport. Nico’s decision to retire from the sport only five days after clinching the title is very unexpected, but courageous. Many drivers get intoxicated by success and they hold on to their careers because they are afraid to make the decision to retire. Rosberg will definitely retire on a high note as the world champion! Actually, there isn’t a better way to end your career. I really respect his courage to make such a bold decision. He truly knows what he wants, which is admirable.
At the end of the day I can understand why Rosberg decided to retire. Being a Formula 1 driver and travelling 200 days a year is very hard work, and it isn’t as glamorous as it may sound. He has a 1-year-old daughter and wife Vivian. Like former world champion Damon Hill tweeted: There’s more to life than chasing around in circles. Making a decision like this shows that the German hasn’t been blinded by money and material aspects. For him family matters more than the 2-year contract of 45 million dollars! This really makes me take my hat off in front of him. Not everyone is able to make such a decision, so huge respect for Rosberg!
Naturally, Rosberg’s announcement started huge fuss and wild rumours about Hamilton’s future teammate. Who will replace the German at Mercedes? All of a sudden there’s an empty seat in the world champion team! Pascal Wehrlein, who is a part of Mercedes’ junior program, would be the most obvious choice. But he has just had his first year in Formula 1, which means he’s lacking experience; although a move from the backmarker Manor to the world champion team would be a fairy-tale for the young German. How about Valtteri Bottas? Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff is a part of the Finn’s management team, and Williams also has an engine deal with Mercedes, so it would sound like a possible solution. There are two drivers, who, I think, are impossible to get - Red Bull’s Verstappen and Ferrari’s Vettel - but everyone else can be bought out of their contracts. What a wild dream this would be - Kimi gets signed up at Mercedes for his final year in Formula 1 and wins his second world championship at the wheel of the Silver Arrow? There aren’t many drivers, who are able to match Hamilton’s performance, but Kimi is definitely one of them. Although I believe that Mercedes is looking for a long-term driver.
However, in the complex world of F1, everything is possible. We’re definitely living in interesting times now. We just have to wait and see!
With passion for racing red,
P.S. All the very best for Nico Rosberg in his new challenges in life!