Just five days after being crowned Formula one world champion, German driver Nico Rosberg retires from the sport with immediate effect.
The 31-year-old, who won his maiden title on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, made the shock announcement at a press conference in Vienna.
He said that winning the title had always been his dream and having achieved it, he would stand down.
”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,” Rosberg wrote to fans on Facebook.
”Now I’ve made it. 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.”
Rosberg retires after having won nine of this season’s 21 Grand Prix, beating three-time champion and long-time rival Lewis Hamilton by five points.
Their battle dominated the headlines all through the season after Rosberg had lost the 2014 and 2015 championship to the Briton.
Hamilton’s engine problems hampered his dominance with Rosberg capitalizing although falling short in the final three races coming second the Hamilton all times.
”This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough,” Rosberg wrote.
”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.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff reacted to the news saying it took him by surprise.
”This is a brave decision and testament to his strength of character. He has chosen to leave at the pinnacle of his career, as world champion, having achieved his childhood dream,” said Wolff.
”Throughout his career, people have thought he was on a golden path to success just because his father was a world champion… that made the challenge greater and meant he had to fight even harder with the weight of expectation on his shoulders.”
Nico Rosberg is the son of Finland’s 1982 world champion Keke. He made his F1 debut for Williams at the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2006, finishing seventh.
Rosberg retires after having raced in a total of 206 Grand Prix, winning 23 and finishing on the podium 57 times.