Nico Rosberg has revealed that his decision to announce his retirement from F1 just days after winning the 2016 World Championship was out of respect for the Mercedes team.
Rosberg sealed the 2016 title versus Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi on November 27.
While F1 and indeed his fans expected the German to race on in 2017, Rosberg stunned the world by announcing his departure from motorsport just five days later.
“I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right,” he said on the day he was set to collect his trophy for winning the world championship at the FIA prize-giving ceremony in Austria.
Over five years later, speaking to Motorsport-Total, Rosberg opened up about the timing of his decision to call it quits, insisting he didn’t want to differ the announcement and leave Mercedes hanging with too few options to replace him.
“I would have loved to have celebrated the world championship title for another month and then at some point said: ‘I’m going to quit!'” Rosberg explained.
“If it had been up to me, I would have done it in January. Another month of celebrating as World champion, and then Christmas and all that, and then sometime in January say, ‘I’m going to quit.’
“I only did it for Toto and for the team, very simple.”
Rosberg also revealed that several among the Brackley squad’s top brass tried to convince him to change his mind, and not least Mercedes F1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.
“Especially Niki,” Rosberg said. “Sure, it would have been easier if I kept driving.”
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