Looking back on Rosberg's F1 career


Nico Rosberg shocked the world on Friday when he announced his retirement before FIA’s prize giving ceremony in Vienna. The announcement came as a shocking thunder with only five days after he clinched the title in Abu Dhabi.

Nicolas Erik Rosberg who was born in Wiesbaden on 27 June 1985 hangs up his racing suit and his helmet at the age of 31. The last time a champion returned after grabbing the title was 1993 when Alain Prost left the sport after his fourth title.

11 active years, 206 race starts, 23 wins, 57 podiums, 30 pole positions, 20 fastest laps, 1594.5 points, two runner-up finishes in the championship and the 2016 world championship title. That is the tally of Nico Rosberg in Formula 1.

The 31-year-old German never stood out with scandals or a flagrantly exhibitionist personality, but he always followed a rather analytical method to approach motorsport which propelled him to his childhood’s dream. He is reputed to be fluent in five languages – German, English, Italian, French and Spanish.

His nationality was never been solid because of his wealthy cultural background. His mother Sina was born in Germany while his father Keke was born in Sweden. Keke’s partents were Finnish, but they were studying in Sweden when Keke was born. Nico spent much of his youth in Monaco. He holds dual citizenship and he competed under both Finnish and German flag in his early career. When he entered Formula 1, he had to choose from the two nationalities as FIA does not allow to compete under two flags.

A career of some stagnations and blasting successes
His career started out at the age of six. He began to climb up the ladder in the usual way: he stared karting. He got to know his most fierce rival Lewis Hamilton in 2000 when they became team-mates at MBM (Mercedes-Benz/McLaren). They built quickly a friendship despite to very different background and origin. Rosberg is the son of the wealthy former F1 champion Keke Rosberg while Lewis was born on a council estate in Stevenage.

Hamilton and Rosberg used to sleep in the same room at race weekends and used to do mischief together. Their old karting boss Dino Chiesa disclosed that he was regularly called by receptions at nights because the duo of kids never wanted to sleep and used to make noise instead of having a rest. In the end, Hamilton became European champion with Rosberg close behind.

In 2001, the German stepped up to Formula BMW which he won the next year. This allowed him to make the next step which was the Formula 3. He joined the Team Rosberg, his father’s racing team. In 2003 and 2004 he scored four F3 wins. In these years, he also contested various other special F3 races like Korea Super Prix, Bahrain Superprix, Masters of Formula 3 and Macau Grand Prix.

In 2005, he contested in GP2 which was the inaugural season for the all-new series. The year started out quite moderately for Rosberg, but he upped his game from the fifth race, scored five race wins, three second places and four third places. That tally of 12 podium finishes out of 23 races earned him the championship.

His F1 career started out in 2006 when he joined Williams F1 Team, the squad which his father once collected the title for. His first appearance was rather convincing as he set the fastest race lap in his first ever GP. He then, however, had to settle for more moderate results. He scored only two podium finishes with Williams in an era which was dominated by Ferrari and Renault in 2006, by Ferrari and McLaren in the following two years and by Brawn and Red Bull in 2009.

2010 opened a new chapter in Rosberg’s F1 career when the newly founded Mercedes GP Team signed him. The German marque rejoined the pinnacle of motorsport after a long absence as they had only contested in the sport in 1954 and 1955. They only were present in F1 as engine supplier between these two spells.

Rosberg’s team-mate was the seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher in the first two years. In 2013, his former ally and friend Lewis Hamilton joined Mercedes. 2014 rewrote the technical regulation of F1 which was mastered the best by Mercedes. The Anglo-German team have shown formerly never-experienced dominance for the last three years. This dominance and the solo-team fight for the title meant the start of the big freeze of the former friendship.

The freshly crown champion shocks the world

Just five days after securing the world title in Abu Dhabi, the shock news broke out in Vienna and through the internet. Rosberg announced that he would retire from the sport. Nobody could expect that. His team has been already preparing for the next year, his bosses Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda were over the moon that their second driver became the champion. It caught everyone by shocking surprise.

The German reassured that his decision is not a sudden, premature reaction after his success amid utter happiness. He disclosed that the first thought of ending his career came after the Japanese GP. He felt the pressure on his shoulders is immense and unbearable. That intention of quitting the sport got only stronger and stronger.

Come the last race day, he woke up in Abu Dhabi by approaching the race as his last one. He made the final decision on Monday evening after a heavy party with his family and his team in a club after the season finale. He first informed his wife Vivian Sibold and then Toto Wolff. The Austrian then had to pass the shocking news to countryman Niki Lauda. The three-time world champion disclosed on Saturday during Mercedes annual celebration in Sindelfingen that Wolff informed him as they were in a toilet. Mercedes managed to keep the secret for a couple of days while they were on a "tour" with Rosberg in Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Malaysia, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Vienna. The German also informed personally his team-mate and former friend Lewis Hamilton by sending him a short text message.

Rosberg claimed that he climbed the mountain he wanted, fulfilled his childhood’s dream of becoming F1 world champion. He wants now to become husband and father, roles which he had to neglect because of the constant commitment he had to maintain in a bid to achieve his final goal. He wants to return the sacrifice and support of his whole family he has enjoyed in the last years, especially this season. The German disclosed his wife undertook most of the care their baby, Alaia required. He did not even need to wake up at nights when they were at home in Monaco between race weekends as his wife wanted to give him every chance to fill up his batteries for the next GP weekend.

Rosberg followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming champion. His title came 24 years after his father’s crown. The Rosbergs replicated the father-son success of Graham and Damon Hill, although the Hills secured three titles altogether.

The 2016 world champion seems to be adamant determined to turn his back to the pinnacle of motorsport. He added that he will never consider a comeback as he will now close his endeavour and chapter in F1. "Finished. Done. End of story," concluded Rosberg.