Mercedes’ Toto Wollf – “I would have expected a lot, but not Nico calling it a day.”


Nico Rosberg's retirement from Formula 1 was a shock to Mercedes Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

When Nico Rosberg announced his retirement, it came as a shock to Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.

It was a strong battle between Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton during the 2016 Formula 1 Season, as they battled it out in the Drivers’ Championship. With competitive cars on both sides of the garage, it was a fight to the end, as despite Hamilton winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Rosberg’s second place meant he was crowned champion.

After celebrating his maiden world title, he announced he would be retiring from Formula 1 on the day he was set to collect the trophy. This announcement was a shock to everyone, especially the Brackley-based outfit, who he had been with since the 2010 season. Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff couldn’t believe what he was hearing from Rosberg, with it being a real surprise.

“I would have expected a lot,” said Wolff. “But not Nico calling it a day.”

“We spent a day in Kuala Lumpur, that was right after he won the championship and I felt like something was cooking. He asked when we could have dinner together and it was very emotional but I felt there was something he wanted to tell me but somehow it didn’t come out and then we landed in Frankfurt in the Don.

“My phone rang literally ninety seconds after I had left him and it was him, on the phone very emotional and I thought that he had hurt himself, stumbling over some stairs or so. I said I’m coming back and he said ‘no, no don’t come back – the whole night I figured out how to tell you but I’m stopping’ and it was a real surprise.”

Channel 4, the home of free-to-air Formula 1 with live coverage of ten Grand Prix this season and comprehensive highlights of every race. To watch the full interview ‘F1 Meets… Toto Wolff’ tune into C4 12:25 on Saturday 24th June.