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Mercedes chairman Zetsche reveals reaction to Rosberg retirement news

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Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche has revealed his immediate reaction to the news that Nico Rosberg would be retiring from Formula 1.

Rosberg clinched his maiden F1 title in Abu Dhabi for Mercedes as the German marque won both championships for the third year in a row.

Five days after being crowned champion, Rosberg sensationally announced his immediate retirement from F1, much to the surprise of the entire F1 paddock and the Mercedes team.

In an interview with Autocar, Zetsche revealed that he initially thought something had happened with Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg’s teammate, when Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff called him at a somewhat inconvenient time.

“I was stepping out of the shower lacking any clothes, which I normally do when I get out of the shower! And my phone was ringing,” Zetsche said.

“And I saw it was Toto and I thought: ‘Oh again, something with Lewis!’

“But then I got the news. And I did not expect that, I must say.”

Zetsche said that he understood Rosberg’s decision to quit F1, recognizing that the German had fulfilled his life’s goal by becoming world champion.

“I respected that decision,” Zetsche said.

“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.

“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.”

MRTI: Juncos signs Carlos Cunha for Pro Mazda campaign

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Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.

Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.

“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”

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