Nico Rosberg Announces Retirement from Formula 1

Following the unexpected announcement that Nico Rosberg is to retire from Formula 1, Chris Soulsby looks at the 2016 World Champion's career that began it 2006 at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

BRACKLEY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP celebrates winning the F1 World Drivers Championship with Mercedes GP staff on December 1, 2016 in Brackley, England. (Photo by Steve Etherington/Getty Images)

Just five days after becoming the 2016 Formula 1 World Champion, Nico Rosberg has announced that he will retire from Formula 1 with immediate effect.

Nico Rosberg Announces Retirement from Formula 1

Rosberg, 31, made his Formula 1 debut at the 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix. He would secure his first F1 podium in 2008. Remaining at Williams until the end of 2009, Rosberg joined F1 newcomers, Mercedes GP for the 2010 season where he would be partnered by seven time Formula 1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher.

Rosberg secured his first F1 win at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix. The win would make him one of seven different winners of the first seven races in the 2012 season. After Schumacher announced his retirement from Formula 1 for the second time, Rosberg’s team mate became Lewis Hamilton for the 2013 season after the British driver left McLaren.

2014 marked Mercedes’ rise to dominance, where both Rosberg and Hamilton would be in a straight title battle between one another. This would come to a climax at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, ending with Hamilton securing his second World Championship. 2015 would mark a battle for the title between Hamilton and Rosberg once again. However, Hamilton would once again come out on top, securing the championship at the US Grand Prix after Rosberg made a mistake costing him the win in difficult conditions.

This year’s Formula 1 Season marked Nico Rosberg’s first championship win. The German driver beat Hamilton to the title by 5 points at last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, winning nine of the twenty-one races held over the course of the season.

When asked about the retirement, Rosberg said: “I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right“.

Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff said that Rosberg’s announcement took him “completely by surprise,” with Rosberg extending his contract with Mercedes until the end of 2018. Nevertheless, Wolff described Rosberg’s departure from the team as an ‘exciting’ opportunity for 2017.

Following this announcement, it remains unannounced who will take Rosberg’s place at Mercedes. However, Pascal Wehrlein remains as a favorite to join the team. The young German is part of Mercedes’ young driver program and has carried out testing for the team throughout 2016, with his most recent time in the car coming earlier this week when testing the new tyres that will be used in Formula 1 in 2017.

Mercedes are going to start examining possible replacements for Rosberg early next week.