2016 world champion Nico Rosberg made his return to Formula 1 action on Sunday at the historic Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, getting behind the wheel of a Mercedes W05 car on the hillclimb.
Rosberg announced his shock retirement from F1 just five days after winning his maiden title in Abu Dhabi last year with Mercedes, quitting racing altogether in order to spend more time with his family.
Rosberg has remained close with Mercedes ever since, continuing to be one of its ambassadors, and made an appearance in the paddock at the Monaco Grand Prix last month.
As part of the annual showcase at Goodwood, Rosberg made an appearance in the W05 car that won both championships in 2014 and took the German driver to second place in the drivers’ standings.
“Thank you all for being so supportive and for all coming out today. What an amazing day,” Rosberg said, speaking to the crowd after his show run.
“For me it was great fun, good memories with my old car going up the hill. I gave it everything this time, absolutely flat out.
“It’s been special to come here today because I’ve been here eight times even, and it’s my first time back here as world champion. That’s amazing.”
McLaren is almost back on schedule with its 2018 Formula 1 car development after losing two weeks due to a delay in deciding on its engine supplier, according to racing director Eric Boullier.
McLaren confirmed back in September it would be cutting ties with Honda at the end of the year after three difficult seasons, favoring a switch to Renault power units.
The decision was not taken lightly by McLaren, causing it to lose two weeks in the development of next year’s car, but Boullier confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the team is almost back on-track.
“Maybe we made the decision to change the engine manufacturer two weeks too late for our schedule, but these two weeks have almost been recovered,” Boullier said.
“Any big decisions are always difficult to take. The concept of McLaren winning with Honda was a dream for everybody, yes – it was a beautiful story.
“Today we have huge respect for them and we definitely don’t divorce with fights and screams and finger pointing. We are all very professional – and in the end it was a business decision, which they understand.
“There is a sadness that it didn’t work out like we wanted. McLaren-Honda in terms of brands was a good fit – in terms of results it didn’t work.
“That’s what it is in the end. Now we have to see that we get back to competitiveness – back to the top!”