Nico Rosberg and his retirement soon after winning the 2016 F1 championship shocked the world. No one could quite believe that the Mercedes driver was calling it a day just after he had achieved something so special.
Surely, he’d want more of it, right? The world thought so, but Nico thought otherwise.
It wasn’t just F1 fans who were left puzzled by Rosberg’s decision to walk away. The news came as a big shock to the people at Mercedes as well.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Beyond the Grid podcast, Mercedes F1’s core group of members, Ron Meadows, Andrew Shovlin, Simon Cole, and James Vowles, who have been with the team for 20 years, revealed just how shocked the team were.
One of them said, “Toto called us into the office and we didn’t know what to expect. But if Toto asked us, ‘list 5 things I’m about to say,’ then Nico retiring wasn’t on that list. It was just a bizarre moment.”
Although Rosberg retirement didn’t affect Mercedes as a whole, F1 fans certainly regret it. While the Silver Arrows continued to dominate with Valtteri Bottas being the perfect foil for Lewis Hamilton, fans were deprived of witnessing a thrilling title race for the Drivers’ championship.
Despite their subsequent success without Rosberg, the question still bothers Mercedes to this day.
Mercedes still can’t wrap their head around Nico Rosberg retiring in 2016
The general consensus between the four of them was, “It’s hard to work out why he just asked to be released from his contract.
“Even if he wasn’t going to beat Lewis again, he was in a good car, he’d be winning races, he’d be part of a team that was doing something amazing. But there must have been very personal reasons. He had obviously achieved what he had wanted to.”
The rivalry between Rosberg and Hamilton during that time was a joy to watch. It’s a pity that it only lasted three years. Nevertheless, that rivalry isn’t totally dead and buried just yet.
The duo own teams that are taking part in the inaugural Extreme E championship. With the first round going to Rosberg’s side, it’ll be interesting to see how the remaining for X-prix’s pan out. As for the racing in the F1 world, Hamilton will have his focus set on Imola, where he’ll look to increase the gap between him and Max Verstappen.
Can the Red Bull man do what no one has done since Rosberg’s retirement? Only time will tell.