Nico Rosberg has announced that he is to retire from Formula 1, just a few days after beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to a maiden World Championship title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Rosberg communicated his decision at an FIA press conference in Vienna, ahead of Friday evening’s Prize-Giving Gala, before posting a lengthy message on his Facebook page.
“Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my ‘one thing’ to become Formula 1 World Champion,” he said.
“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.
“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.
“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, Rosberg’s manager), followed by Toto [Wolff].
“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…”
Nico Erik Rosberg (31) drove for the Mercedes Formula One team. Born in Germany as the son of Finnish former world champion Keke Rosberg and his German mother, he raced under the German flag in Formula One, but has also briefly competed for Finland in early stages of his racing career. Rosberg holds dual nationality of these two countries; however, although reputed to be fluent in five languages, he does not speak Finnish.
Rosberg won the 2005 GP2 Series for the ART team, having raced in Formula 3 Euro Series previously for his father Keke Rosberg’s racing organisation Team Rosberg. Rosberg entered Formula One in 2006 with Williams, the team with which his father had won the 1982 championship.
For the 2010 Formula One season, Rosberg joined the re-branded Mercedes team, formed by Mercedes’s takeover of 2009 Constructors’ Champion Brawn GP. Since then, Rosberg has enjoyed his most successful period, winning 23 Grands Prix and earning 30 pole positions as well as the 2016 World Drivers’ Championship. He is the fourth driver in history to win the Monaco Grand Prix three times in a row and is the fourth driver in history to win 7 Grands Prix in a row.
In July 2016, Rosberg signed a new contract with Mercedes to stay with the team until the end of 2018. He finally won the world title after an intense duel with Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, becoming the second son of a former champion, after Damon Hill, to have won the title himself. He is also the first ever German Formula One driver to win a title in a German team with a German engine.