News has broken of Nico Rosberg Quitting F1. The reigning champion is now gone and a prime World Champion seat is up for grabs.
As if to emphasise the many called this the new version of Senna v Prost, Nico Rosberg quitting F1 is the first time a World Champion has quit since Alain Prost retired after his fourth World Championship with Williams in 1993. The pending arrival of Senna the main reason for his departure.
But why would he do it?
First of all there’s nothing like retiring on top. Many sports stars carry on too long these days. Few could argue given the good coin they are on, but nothing keeps your personal brand in pristine condition than a Championship as the last thing you’ve done.
There are some direct comparisons for hanging on too long from F1 this year in the shape of Jenson Button and Felipe Massa.
Secondly, there is the said reason for Nico Rosberg quitting F1 – family reasons. With 20 races spread all over the world, except Africa (just the way Bernie likes it), and a season that lasts from March to November who could blame someone for wanting to stay at home.
We have a theory that we prefer. Given his teammate’s efforts is Abu Dhabi to stop him, Nico Rosberg quitting F1 is the ultimate F*** You to Lewis Hamilton, who will never be able to defeat Nico next season.
This may hurt Lewis Hamilton’s ego as he was at pains to tell all and sundry about his mechanical failures in 2016, alluding to Nico having more luck, and wasn’t quite the worthy champion is his eyes. Lewis’ fans also point to this. But with Rosberg gone there is no chance to prove him wrong and smash him next year.
For all the talk of Lewis Hamilton’s superiority the head to head at Mercedes for the last 3 seasons is closer than you may think.
Hamilton 2 Rosberg 1
Hamilton 31 Rosberg 20
Rosberg 26 Hamilton 19
BUT WHO WILL REPLACE HIM?
PRO – Already Mercedes driver. Cheap. Available
CON – Not a superstar. Doubts over top level talent.
The easiest and cheapest option and has hasn’t got a confirmed drive for 2017, and he is in the Mercedes stable. But one would have to question why Force India took Ocon over Wehrlein if he is the next superstar. Getting a point for Manor is still some achievement, and given a better car will no doubt win races we think.
PRO – 4 x World Champions
CON – Attached to Ferrari, Very grumpy in 2016.
Mercedes would have to buy Vettel out of his deal, but given how the Vettel-Ferrari relationship has ended up, maybe a split could suit both. There’s no doubt with the right car he is ultra fast and championship capable. But given how temperamental both Hamilton and Vettel could be, could there be even more fireworks in 2017.
PRO – Probably best driver in F1.
CON – Attached to McLaren, Last time with Hamilton didn’t work very well.
Given the shitfight it ended up at McLaren in 2007, Mercedes will probably want to steer clear of having an Alonso-Hamilton partnership. But surely Alonso is deserving a one more chance in a fast car. But maybe the McLaren will be just that in 2017.
PRO – Fast and not a douche.
CON – Attached to Red Bull
Highly unlikely, but if you’re going to buy someone out of a contract, why not go for Ricciardo who has proven himself as quick as the rest but without most of the fuss. Problem is the Red Bull could be a rocket in 2017 with new regs. Problem is Max Verstappen could make the most of it.
PRO – Decent enough driver. Sort of managed by Wolff.
CON – Has dropped off this year with Williams
Could be a cheaper option, with plenty of F1 experience. Managed by Wolff will help, and has shown glimpses of real pace when given the chance at Williams. Mysteriously off the pace throughout 2016 but probably a safer bet than Wehrlein.
PRO – Fast, compared well to Max Verstappen.
CON – Attached to Toro Rosso. No top team experience.
Another unlikely one, but another cheaper option than buying out Vettel or Alonso. Did well against Max, but probably has his sights set on the Ferrari. And that could go his way if Vettel buggers off.
PRO – Fast and perennially under-rated.
CON – Attached to Renault. Wonder why hasn’t been given a top ride by now despite reputation.
Might be regretting his move to Renault now. Will be regretting his move to Renault now.
PRO – GP2 Champion, Unattached, Cheap
CON – Complete F1 Novice
Fast, and can race. His overtaking manoeuvre going into Eau Rouge with a broken front wing speaks of talent that shouldn’t be wasted on the sidelines. Could replace Wehrlein at Manor if he gets Merc call up.
FERNANDO ALONSO – Just one more round of Ham v Alonso
IT WILL PROBABLY BE
VALTTERI BOTTAS – Fastish, Cheapish, Finnish option.