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Formula One

Rosberg Retires From Formula One After Title Win

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The world of Formula One has been left shocked as Nico Rosberg announced his immediate retirement from the sport after winning the world championship.

Rosberg, 31, finally beat teammate Lewis Hamilton to his first and only world title in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season, winning by five points.

He leaves the sport after taking part in 206 Grands Prix, claiming 23 wins, 30 pole positions, 57 podiums and 20 fastest laps. The German is the first champion to immediately retire since Alain Prost won the title for Williams in 1993.

The decision is surprising after he only just signed a new two-year contract to keep him at the Silver Arrows until the end of the 2018 season in July.

However, Rosberg released a statement saying that winning the title was the biggest thing he has achieved and that it ‘feels right’ to end his career now.

“Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my ‘one thing’ to become Formula One World Champion. Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it,” Rosberg said.

“I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. My strongest emotion right now is deep gratitude to everybody who supported me to make that dream happen.

“This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough. I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fuelled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before.”

He also mentioned that he wasn’t the only person involved in the battle for the title, but his wife took a lot of family pressures in a team effort to claim the championship.

“And of course that had an impact on the ones I love, too – it was a whole family effort of sacrifice, putting everything behind our target.

“I cannot find words strong enough words to thank my wife Vivian; she has been incredible. She understood that this year was the big one, the 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.”

Rosberg says that the decision is one that he had been considering for some weeks before celebrating in Abu Dhabi.

“When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became World Champion. On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start.

“I wanted to enjoy every part of the experience, knowing it might be the last time… and then the lights went out and I had the most intense 55 laps of my life.

“I took my decision on Monday evening. After reflecting for a day, the first people I told were Vivian and Georg [Nolte, from Rosberg’s management team], followed by Toto [Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport].”

The decision leaves one seat empty for the team with Lewis Hamilton is already under contract for the 2017 season. Pascal Wehrlein, who was overlooked for the Force India seat in favor of fellow Mercedes-backed driver Esteban Ocon, has been rumored with a move to Sauber but could possibly replace Rosberg.

With the retirement of Felipe Massa, and Jenson Button taking a ‘sabbatical’ in the 2017 season, this announcement means there will only be four world champions on the grid next year. The foursome of Fernando Alonso, Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel will be the lowest number since only three champions started the 2009 season.

EMAIL CAMERON AT cpatersonf1@gmail.com

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Cameron Paterson

Cameron Paterson has been a watcher of Formula 1 since 2007, a casual television watch evolved to watching and reading anything related to something with wheels and an engine. A fan of writing, it was a no-brainer about what to do to try and get into motorsport, consistently discussing things about this great sport since 2016.