The news of Nico Rosberg’s retirement five days after winning his first (and only) F1 world championship astounded the motoring world and the entire world of sport.
You can read the reason, and his words, posted publicly on his Facebook profile, HERE. In a nutshell, after achieving the dream that he had chased all his life, Nico decided that there is another life to live. Off the track, alongside his wife, as a family.
Twenty-five years of racing, although very successful, mean having to withstand an extremely high stress level. And if in athletic sports, the first thing to go is the body, in high stress sports, it is the mind that eventually says “enough”. And it is not an act of cowardice, because sports – lest we forget – must be joy in its purest form and when there is no more pleasure in what are doing, quitting is the right thing to do. Without regrets.
Does this remind you of anything? The immediate parallel is with Casey Stoner who, in 2012 at Le Mans, after just three Grand Prix races and leading in the overall standings ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, announced his retirement.
They were both born in 1985 and Nico and Casey both already have a wife by their sides, Adriana for the Australian, Vivian Sibold for the F1 driver. And they both have a daughter, Alessandra Stoner, and Alaϊa Rosberg.
Is it the syndrome of a second more for which Enzo Ferrari yearned that led both to choose the family? We do not think so. Rather, we think that their path – although quite different in terms of birth and walks of life – was tiring. One intent on giving the family what the family had given him, the other focused on following in the footsteps of his father, Keke, 1982 world champion with the Williams Ford.
In any case, it must not be easy to retire at the top, although years ago Valentino Rossi revealed that his secret dream was to retire as the number one rider.
The nice part of this story, comparisons with Stoner aside, is the way in which Nico Rosberg decided to announce it: with a video on his official Facebook profile, followed by 2.5 million fans. Casey chose the press conference on the Thursday before the Grand Prix. At a certain moment, when it was his turn to speak, he said it.
These days in the social media era, it is fun to notice how our heroes are their own best press offices. Without any filters between them and the fans. For those who complain of a motoring world that is too rigid, this is good news. It also leads us to reconsider our job as journalists. Today, more than ever, it is our duty to relate everything to its essence: sport. But if putting this into practice leads to wanting to flee as soon as the goal is achieved, perhaps it is time to reconsider how it is organized and how we are handling it.