Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff says that he could see Nico Rosberg returning to the sport and driving for championship rivals Ferrari in the future.
Rosberg, who won last year’s drivers’ championship, retired at the end of last season to spend time with his young family. The German had no intention of racing for another season after the intense battle with former team-mate Lewis Hamilton had left him mentally and physically drained. His announcement sent shockwaves through the Formula 1 community, with no one seeing his early retirement coming.
Despite Rosberg insisting that he is perfectly happy no longer racing in Formula 1, Wolff suspects that the German will change his mind in the future.
“I think when he took the decision to retire it was because it was just too much,” said Wolff.
“It was a very stressful year against probably the best driver in F1 and he felt, at that stage, exhausted. That is how he appeared to me.
“But he is 31 years old. If he is unlucky, he has another 70 years to go in his life!
“I will give you one [quote]: I wouldn’t be surprised if he changes his mind in a year and reappears in a Ferrari! Or somewhere else.”
What does this mean for the sport?
Rosberg would not be the first driver to make a comeback after initially retiring. Michael Schumacher did it and endured another stint in the sport and, more recently, Felipe Massa retired for merely a few weeks before getting called back to Williams to replace Valtteri Bottas.
Rosberg has always received a positive reaction from the fans and drivers, so it is certain that if he were to make a return, it would be greatly welcomed.
But, for now, it seems the current F1 world champion is happy spectating from his living room with the rest of the Rosberg family.