If you are like most Formula One fans, you must be reeling from Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire. Everyone close to the sport was shocked as the decision seemed to have come from the blues. It was one of those bombshells that is bound to make every team boss shake and indeed the people at Mercedes have admitted so.
While this is a big disappointment for fans who relished another close battle between Nico and Hamilton, it might be of some help to understand what could have caused Nico to retire. After all, here was a driver who had won one elusive title and at his age, the German was in a vantage point to fight for even more. The Mercedes team had been supportive of Nico and their cars seem to be getting better. This adds to the puzzle of what really motivated the world champion to retire.
Well, here are some theories that could at least help clarify what transpired:
1. The Hamilton Threat
Most fans feel cheated because Nico was supposed to continue pushing Hamilton to the edge. For these fans, the feeling is that the 2016 champion could not take the pressure anymore and he threw in the towel. Well, this theory could carry some credence if you consider Hamilton had some misfortunes with his engine and were it not for these, Nico could not have won. So, is it a case of getting out when on top?
2. Alain Prost Motivation
There is an argument that Nico made the decision based on what happened way back in 1993. Prost finished second in the last race of 1993 but won the title. There was the fact that Ayrton Senna was joining Williams and the pressure of fighting more battles with the Brazilian could have motivated him to walk away from something he had dedicated so much of his life to. Like Prost, Nico seems to be walking out with his head high but there is a glaring hole in this theory; Prost already had four titles to his name.
3. The Emotional Strain
To be fair, the strain on Nico was obvious right from the start. Maybe it was because of having to leave a new family and concentrate on racing instead. Nico had to leave a little daughter and travel across the world. He had to train hard and he has admitted the psychological strain was too much. To go through another year and handle such sacrifices would have been tough for their new family. The reigning champion has already admitted it would have been impossible to focus as much as he did in 2016, hence the need to quit.
4. A Done Deed
During interviews after the bombshell, Nico admitted he had been thinking about retirement even before winning the title. It seems there was no bombshell after all and it was already something premeditated.
Now that the dust has settled, Bottas has a dream seat at Mercedes and Hamilton is bound to enjoy less pressure on the field, but will he? That’s up to Ricciardo and Max.