2016 world champion Nico Rosberg has sensationally announced he has retired from Formula 1 with immediate effect.
The German driver won the title last week, beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to his first drivers’ championship.
“When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became World Champion,” said Rosberg. “On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start.”
Mercedes are yet to confirm the identity of Hamilton’s 2017 team-mate.
“We will take the necessary time to evaluate our options,” said Wolff.
Rosberg only signed a three-year extension with the Silver Arrows last summer while Sky Sports revealed earlier this week that Hamilton himself had threatened to walk away from the team midway through the year after colliding with Rosberg in the Spanish GP.
“It is absolutely extraordinary,” said Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle.
Rosberg has been with Mercedes since 2010 and debuted in Formula 1 in 2006.
Rosberg says world championship was his dream and ‘now I’ve made it’; Made decision a day after winning title in Abu Dhabi; Mercedes now looking for new driver to partner Lewis Hamilton for 2017 and beyond