Five days after being crowned as the 2016 World Drivers Champion for Formula 1, Nico Rosberg made a surprise announcement. This year's champion told of his retirement during the FIA World Champions gala, citing that he had achieved his childhood dream.
"Since I was six years old I had a clear dream, that was to become F1 world champion and it was very clear in my mind, whatever I could think, I have achieved it. I will remember forever. I have achieved this childhood dream now, so I'm not willing to do more commitment," said Rosberg in an official statement.
Rosberg also took the time to thank his wife and family for the support. “ 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.”
With his retirement, there is now a seat open alongside Lewis Hamilton over at Mercedes-AMG. Rosberg added that his only regret was putting his team in a difficult situation. Toto Wolff, executive director for Mercedes-AMG Formula 1, had told reporters that he is not keen on replacing Rosberg with another high profile driver.
In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, he mentioned that there are three paths to take to find Rosberg's replacement. Wolff said that the first option is to find a number two driver to guarantee the team's constructors title defense next year. The second option is to hire a junior driver such as Esteban Ocon or Pascal Wehrlein. The third, which Wolff says is his least preferred option, is to go for a top driver.
As for Rosberg, he has made it clear that he will not return to Formula 1. “I have decided to follow my heart. I want to call it a day and go on to other things and it feels right to me. Now, I’m just here to enjoy the moment. There is time to savor 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”.