At 31, Nico Rosberg fulfilled his childhood dream. He won the Formula 1 championship in 2016 – then quickly retired and baffled the sports world. In his farewell speech at the FIA awards ceremony in Vienna, he spoke of how overwhelming the combination of hard work, pain and sacrifice was – like so many others who have reached the pinnacle of success,
Now he's a roving ambassador for Mercedes and a Sky F1 commentator. He also uses his platform as a top athlete to promote his commitment to environmental races and the fight against climate change.
Nico Rosberg: From F1 to Formula E.
As a child, Rosberg was a cartographer and loved the thrill of racing so much that he turned down a coveted aeronautical engineering course at Imperial College London. After getting the best grades of all time in the Williams F1 team's technical aptitude test, he was signed for the 2006 F1 season. His F1 career led him to Mercedes, where he was paired with the Lewis Hamilton phenomenon. The rivalry between Mercedes teammates is often referred to as the decisive battle of Formula 1 in the 2010s.
Today Rosberg maintains a collaboration with Mercedes and supports the fully electric models in their catalog.
Nico Rosberg sees a switch to synthetic fuels in Formula 1 and explains that the competition will use 10% biofuels this year.
“Right now this is coming from food supplies, which has ethical implications. But the next generation will be made of waste products, and then there will be synthetic fuels in 2025. Formula 1 can play a pioneering role in synthetic fuels. They could be a quick way to e-mobility. “
Rosberg was an early stage investor and shareholder in Formula E and believed the series would be a success. Formula E – officially the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship – is a single-seat motorsport championship for electric cars. The series was conceived in 2011 in Paris by FIA President Jean Todt and Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag, who is also the current chairman of Formula E Holdings.
“It's an opportunity for manufacturers to demonstrate sustainability,” he says. “It shows that they work every day to make the planet greener and shows that sustainable racing can be fun.”
Since the opening race of the series in Beijing in 2014, Formula E has advanced both electrification and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in racing.
Now it's on to Extreme E for Nico Rosberg
Although Rosberg has invested in Formula E, he has become much more proactive in the new FIA-sanctioned electric motorsport Extreme E by forming his own Rosberg Xtreme Racing (RXR) team. The off-road series drives high-performance electric SUV “Odyssey” in 5 remote areas to raise awareness of climate problems – Senegal, Greenland, Sardinia, Saudi Arabia and another destination with TBA.
“It's a sister racing series to Formula E, but built around a social purpose,” explains Nico Rosberg. “I like that about it. It's based on equality and that's really exciting to see. “
The series also promotes gender equality in motorsport by mandating that all teams consist of one driver who share the same driving duties.
Lewis Hamilton – Rosberg's former Mercedes partner – will also have his own team, with Hamilton using rally legend Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez for driving. Team Rosberg X Racing, however, has the upper hand over Hamilton's X44 and won the opening event and the second race in Senegal with a currently healthy team points advantage.
“It's really exciting,” he says. “It's great to see Lewis embarking on the sustainability path. Fans love to watch the Battle of Rosberg vs Hamilton. That makes the competition more intense. “
Britons Jenson Button and Jamie Chadwick are among the series' most popular drivers. Molly Taylor, Johan Kristoffersson, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Stéphane Sarrazin, Claudia Hürtgen and Mattias Ekströmare are also pilots for Extreme E.
Rosberg's participation is due to the way the sport is raising awareness of the threats in the areas where the races are held.
One of the first projects RXR supported was an initiative by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which works with rural communities in Senegal to monitor available water resources and the state of vegetation. “Extreme E engages in local initiatives to counter threats and to slow down and stop climate change,” he says. “We planted a million mangroves in Senegal. Extreme E involves campaigns driven by purpose. “
According to BBC Sport, the series has consulted with environmental experts to ensure the effects of their presence in these areas are kept to a minimum, while scientists will also travel with the teams to study the effects of climate change. People and equipment are transported to each region via a former Royal Mail cargo ship – the RMS St. Helena – which has been converted into a “floating paddock”.
There are also plans to ensure that the series leaves a lasting legacy in each of the areas visited, including tree planting, cleanups, and solar energy initiatives.
Do what he preaches
Rosberg drives an Audi e-tron and goes on a sustainability discussion with it. “A great family car and good for your conscience!” He exclaims. “I use an environmentally friendly energy supplier, which saves the trip to the gas station. It's a normal car. “
However, the former FIA world champion does not stop at individual decisions in the fight against the climate crisis. Rosberg urges governments to enact more laws that include electric vehicles in order to make significant gains against the climate crisis, including in the UK.
“The UK government has taken a big step by promising to phase out fossil fuel cars by 2030,” he says. “It's a big commitment. However, you also need to encourage faster e-charging adoption with more grants and more support. You have to do everything possible to continue subsidizing electric cars. “
Even so, Rosberg is still optimistic that we can solve the climate crisis. “It's going to be a crucial decade,” he argues. “But the countries are doing more and more and are forcing the companies on the CO2 emissions. The companies know that they have to stand behind it. “
The image of Sardinia was provided by Extreme.E as a preview of the upcoming race in October 2021.
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