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.”