Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg announced his shocking retirement today with immediate effect, reports Autosport. Rosberg just clinched the World Driver’s Championship in the F1 season finale at Abu Dhabi.
“I’ve decided to end my Formula One career, in this moment here, on Monday,” Rosberg said in a live press conference today, which you can watch in its entirety here. Rosberg confirmed in a statement on Facebook that he made his decision to retire on Monday evening, announcing it to only a small group at first.
In his statement, Rosberg explained that he had fulfilled his dream to become F1 World Champion:
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.
Rosberg noted at today’s press conference that this year had been very difficult, as he still had his one true dream in mind, but his close rivalry with teammate Lewis Hamilton made it incredibly tough to achieve:
It has been very, very tough because the last two years losing to Lewis were extremely difficult moments for me, which fueled my motivation in a way that I didn’t even know was possible to fight back and to achieve my dream, finally. This year was extremely tough, because I put absolutely everything into it.
There, Rosberg also confirmed that his F1 career was “finished. Done. End of story.” He has no plans to return the sport, and said that he now just wants to be a husband and a dad. Rosberg expressed gratitude to his wife Vivian for doing so much to take care of their daughter, explaining that he had to miss so much while he concentrated on F1. The hardest part of his decision was the uncertainty of what it would do to the team.
Unlike most retirements, there were no tears during Rosberg’s announcement. “For me, personally, it’s not that difficult. It just feels right,” Rosberg explained.
Rosberg’s retirement came as a shock to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
“He was so clear in what he said. There was no doubt in the decision. It was very difficult for me personally,” Wolff said during today’s press conference.
Wolff also confirmed that the team is “considering all options” for Rosberg’s replacement. They didn’t officially start searching for a replacement yet, as they wanted to keep the news confined to a very small circle of people to prevent leaks.
Mercedes confirmed Rosberg’s retirement this morning, releasing a lengthy statement thanking Rosberg for his years in Formula One. Rosberg has been with the team since 2010.
Rosberg’s announcement came ahead of the FIA Prize Giving Gala in Vienna, where he will claim his world driver’s championship. Rosberg has competed in 206 grands prix in his F1 career, claiming 30 pole positions and winning 23 races. He is only the second son of a Formula One world champion to ever clinch a world drivers’ championship.