Nico Rosberg retires: F1 world champion announces shock retirement days after winning title

Rosberg has announced his retirement in a statement inssued on his Facebook page just five days after winning the F1 world championship

Jack de Menezes
Friday 02 December 2016 14:17
Nico Rosberg announces retirement from Formula 1

Nico Rosberg has announced his retirement from Formula 1 with immediate effect, less than a week after he won the world championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he has confirmed.

Rosberg also held a press conference in Vienna, where he will attend the FIA Prize Giving awards ceremony tonight and receive his trophy for the first time from FIA president Jean Todt.

“Thank you all for coming. For me it’s a very special day today of course as you know, to receive the trophy this evening is going to be amazing, but for another reason as well. I want to take the opportunity to announce that I have decided to end my Formula One career, in this moment here, on Monday."

Rosberg won the world championship on Sunday to finally get the better of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who has won the previous two drivers’ titles for the German manufacturer. The 31-year-old celebrated his success on Sunday night in Abu Dhabi after finishing second to Hamilton, before flying to Kuala Lumpur and Stuttgart to be paraded as the new world champion to Petronas and Mercedes respectively alongside team boss Toto Wolff.

The announcement came completely out of the blue, with Rosberg already confirmed by Mercedes to drive for them in 2017 alongside Hamilton. His departure leaves a huge opportunity for someone to step into the dominant car in F1 for the past three years, and Wolff confirmed that they have yet to decide who could replace the world champion, who will not defend the crown that he won this season.

Writing in a statement issued on Facebook, Rosberg said: “Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my ‘one thing’ to become Formula One World Champion. 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.

Nico Rosberg announces retirement from Formula 1

“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…”

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