Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche says he fully respects Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire from Formula 1 after winning the championship in November.
Barely a few days after he defeated long-time rival and teammate Lewis Hamilton to clinch F1’s biggest crown, Rosberg announced his retirement from the sport with immediate effect.
This left Mercedes in a difficult position to find a suitable replacement for the German as most top drivers were already locked into contracts with rivals.
But Zetsche, who finds time to attend multiple races every year, is fully supportive of Rosberg and the reasons he gave for his shock F1 exit.
"I respected that decision,’’ Zetsche told Autocar. “I mean, obviously, one [Hamilton] is saying 'I want more and more and I want to break more records and make history', and the other one [Rosberg] is saying 'well, I finally fulfilled my life dream and what can be on top of that?', and both approaches are legitimate.
"Of course, it would have been easier and more pleasant for us to have two world champions in our team for the season to come - not necessarily less fight but this was part of the entertainment, and now we need a new driver and that’s how life works.
"And so I was not insulted or totally disappointed. I respected his decision."
Valtteri Bottas is widely tipped to replace Rosberg in a deal brokered with Finn’s current employers Williams.
Mercedes also announced yesterday that technical chief Paddy Lowe has left the outfit, with no immediate replacement planned for the multiple world championship-winning engineer.
by Rachit Thukral