“Not Lewis again!”, Dieter Zetsche thought when got a call from Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Toto Wolff only a few days after the 2016 Formula 1 season finale.
In fact Wolff called to tell him about Nico Rosberg’s retirement.
“I was stepping out of the shower lacking any clothes – which I normally do when I get out of the shower! And my phone was ringing” Zetsche explained for Autocar.
“And I saw it was Toto [Wolff, Mercedes F1 boss] and I thought, oh again, something with Lewis! But then I got the news. And I did not expect that, I must say.”
Dieter Zetsche added that he respected Rosberg’s decision
He also pointed out Nico and Lewis Hamilton are very different characters: “I mean, obviously, one is saying ‘I want more and more and I want to break more records and make history’, and the other one is saying ‘well, I finally fulfilled my life dream and what can be on top of that?’, and both approaches are legitimate.”
According to Daimler’s board chairman it would have been a lot easier for the Mercedes team if Rosberg had stayed.
“It would have been more pleasant for us to have two world champions in our team for the season to come. Not necessarily less fight but this was part of the entertainment, and now we need a new driver and that’s how life works. And so I was not insulted or totally disappointed. I respected his decision”, Zetsche added.
There is still no official announcement on Nico Rosberg’s replacement in the Mercedes team. It is broadly alleged that Valtteri Bottas was recruited.
Yesterday Mercedes confirmed the departure of technical chief Paddy Lowe. He is set to become Williams’ team principal. There are rumors that Lowe might take his new position earlier than usual as part of the Bottas’ deal.