It’s been 15 years that I’ve been a Formula One racing fan since meeting my husband in 2001. I figure, if you can’t beat them, join them and started watching races along side him in the wee hours of the morning before the advent of PVR’s. I’ve learned along the way that a big part of F1 racing is following the stories about the drivers and there is one big story that shocked everyone on December 2nd.
After an intense duel against his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg won the Formula One World Championship on November 27th, 2016 at 31 years old and after a 10 year career with Formula One racing. What no one could expect came next was the announcement of his retirement from the sport just five days later, taking everyone by surprise including his long time manager. From 6 years old, Nico had a very clear dream to become the Formula One World Champion and he had now achieved that dream. The sweetest and most emotional part of the win? Seeing his father’s name, Keke Rosberg, inscribed on the trophy from his Formula One World Championship win 34 years earlier in 1982.
At the announcement of his retirement, he spoke about the sacrifices his wife, children and entire family made to support his dream. He reflected on what it took out from him and those who supported him to reach this achievement and recognized he is not willing to make the commitment again for another year and he’s not interested in coming forth and doing it again. He is going to follow his heart and his heart has told him to stop here and call it a day.
Nico raced in F1 for ten years and had the toughest teammate for the last three years and often challenging behind the scenes team orders to “not beat your teammate” but to “tow the team line”. As a result, there were great trials and tribulations he went through to win and surpass his teammate, Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton won the World Championship titles in 2014 and 2015 with Rosberg finishing second as his teammate both times. While Hamilton started at the top as a star when he entered F1, Nico had to grind and work hard to earn the title over his ten years sacrificing it all in 2016 and being rewarded.
He walked away at a time when most racers will continue on for many years sometimes achieving World Championship again and many languishing for many years in decline before finally retiring from the sport often at low points of their career. I admire Nico’s courage and self-awareness to step down at this high point in his career when others would continue on. He is celebrating this incredible life achievement with permission to step into new opportunity. What could be a better time to go out than at the top?
As you reflect this time of year on your achievements and what your heart wants, I can’t help but wonder… What opportunity is calling you? What will you walk away for?