Nico Rosberg after winning the 2016 Formula One World Championship
World champion Formula One driver Nico Rosberg announced that he would retire from the motorsport, only a few days after winning his first championship.
“Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my ‘one thing’ to become Formula One world champion,” Rosberg said on his Facebook page. “Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it.”
Rosberg said in his announcement that he considered the move after his win in Japan this year, and finalized his decision a day after winning in Abu Dhabi. In his parting comments, he also made clear that spending time with his family is now more of a priority.
Rosberg won nine grands prix races this year en route to his first championship.
Mercedes AMG’s Nico Rosberg at the 2015 Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix
He began his F1 career with Williams in 2006 before moving to Mercedes in 2010. He partnered with Michael Shumacher for his first three years, before eventually pairing with Lewis Hamilton. His first career win and pole position was in 2012 at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Overall, the German has competed in a total of 206 grands prix and won 23 of them, placing him joint 12th on the all-time list alongside Nelson Piquet.
It’s unclear how the shakeup would impact Mercedes’ driver lineup for 2017. Teammate Hamilton hasn’t yet responded on social media to the announcement by Rosberg.
Test driver Esteban Ocon landed a drive last month with Force India, a Mercedes partner. Pascal Wehrlein is another driver in the Mercedes stable and could be in line to take Rosberg’s seat.