Times Sport editor John Hutchins offers his personal opinion on the events, topics and personalities in the world of sport.
THE decision by German racing driver Nico Rosberg to retire just five days after winning the Formula One World Championship drivers’ title has taken the sporting world by surprise.
Rosberg, the son of the Finnish 1982 world champion Keke, decided to call it a day after securing the title by fending off the challenge from his fellow Mercedes driver, Britain’s Lewis Hamilton.
On his retirement from the sport, aged 31, Rosberg told the media: ‘For 25 years in racing, 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,’ he said of retirement.
There have been those who criticised the German’s decision including three time Formula One champion Niki Lauda. Lauda said that Rosberg’s retirement had ‘created a hole’ in the Mercedes team.
However, another former world champion, Jackie Stewart, who also retired in his early thirties, praised Rosberg for being ‘wise and courageous’ and going out on his own terms as champion ‘without losing a drop of blood’.
I think Rosberg is right. As Lauda himself knows — a man who was fortunate to have survived a near death crash and was left with terrible burns in his racing career — Formula One racing driving is a dangerous sport.
With a wife and young child at home — who must worry every time he races — Rosberg perhaps thought it was not worth the risk; he already has enough financial security for him and his young family. He is a world champion — a title he has thoroughly earned. Good luck to him, although I don’t expect to see him, somehow, earning a living by driving a bendy bus on the streets of Stuttgart in the near future.