Team Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg celebrated his first-ever world title on Sunday. Less than one week later, the 31-year-old German native decided to retire from the sport.
Rosberg announced his decision at a press conference for the FIA Awards in Vienna, Austria Friday.
“Since 25 years in racing it has been it has been my dream, my one thing to become Formula One World Champion,” he said. “Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it. I have climbed my mountain. I am on the peak, so this feels right…On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi I knew it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head…Now I’m just here to enjoy the moment…after that, I will turn the next corner in my life and see what it has in store for me.”
The son of Finnish 1982 F1 world champion Keke, Rosberg began his Formula One career in 2006, racing in 206 Grand Prix events, winning 23 of them and finishing on the podium 57 times.
He said he arrived at the decision to retire on Monday evening, taking much of the racing world by complete surprise. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said he was stunned by the news.
“This is a brave decision by Nico and a testament to the strength of his character,” Wolff said. “The clarity of his judgment meant I accepted his decision straight away when he told me.”