Nico Rosberg is retiring from Formula 1 in a surprise move following his World Championship win.
The 31-year-old German announced his decision to depart the sport on Facebook this afternoon, stating that his proudest achievement was this year’s title win.
“Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my ‘one thing’ to become Formula One World Champion,” he said. “Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right.”
Rosberg leaves after 206 races in the world’s top formula with 23 wins and the 2016 title to his name.
“The only thing that makes this decision in any way difficult for me is because I am putting my racing family into a tough situation,” he continued. “But [Mercedes executive director] Toto [Wolff] understood. He knew straight away that I was completely convinced and that reassured me.”
Rosberg’s unexpected move leaves a seat at constructor’s championship winning team Mercedes open for the taking. Mercedes is yet to reveal who will partner Lewis Hamilton for its 2017 campaign.