After retiring from motorsport following his Formula One World Championship in 2016, Nico Rosberg has not exactly been keen on racing again. However, he was happy to do it even for a little bit in an Extreme E Spark ODYSSEY 21.
While his Rosberg X Racing team was testing at the Nürburgring Offroad Park in Germany, Rosberg decided to don a firesuit and helmet once more for a test drive. It was his first time driving a race vehicle in a more-than-casual environment after his F1 exit, let alone an off-road car; although the now-F1 analyst frequently tests tracks on his simulator, he has turned down other racing opportunities since his retirement. Instead, besides working in punditry, he became an entrepreneur with an interest in eco-friendly ventures like electric and self-driving vehicles, including being a backer of Extreme E’s older cousin Formula E.
RXR team principal Kimmo Liimatainen, along with drivers Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Johan Kristoffersson served as his mentors for the exercise.
Rosberg described the run as “simply a phenomenal experience. I cannot believe the power of this car. Off-road driving is so much fun.
“Even though I have not been behind the wheel for a long time, I immediately was in my element. The muscle memory came back instantly and I simply enjoyed myself. Rally driving is an entirely different beast from circuit racing, though, and I have a newfound respect for Mikaela and Johan.”
Does the test mean we can expect Rosberg to return to racing in Extreme E? Probably not. His retirement came out of a desire to be with his family and satisfaction with going out on top, and this resulted in him discontinuing his physical training to stay in shape which he cited for declining a 2019 one-off in DTM.
While Rosberg was mainly in the cockpit to have fun, RXR is preparing for the next two rounds in Sardinia in July.