Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone does not believe that the recently-retired Nico Rosberg will be remembered as one of the sport’s all-time greats, saying that the German is “a world champion and nothing else”.
Rosberg won his maiden F1 drivers’ championship two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi before sensationally announcing his immediate retirement from racing just five days later.
The news came as a shock to the F1 community, including Ecclestone, and has raised questions about the legacy that Rosberg will leave.
Speaking to Press Trust of India, Ecclestone said that he would not place Rosberg in the same realm as many of his peers who have won multiple titles, including Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
“Let’s just say he is a world champion. The other names that you mentioned have obviously won more than a few times and have achieved more,” Ecclestone said.
“So I would just call Nico a world champion and nothing else.”
Ecclestone did concede that not having the defending World Champion on the F1 grid in 2017 would not help the sport, a situation that has not arisen since 1994 following Alain Prost’s final title win.
“[He’s] not as popular as Lewis but Nico was a very popular driver,” Ecclestone said.
“So his absence is certainly not good for Formula 1.”
Rosberg became the fourth driver to retire after winning the World Championship, following in the footsteps of Prost (1993), Jackie Stewart (1973) and Mike Hawthorn (1958).