Nico Rosberg, the 2016 Formula 1 World Champion, has made it clear a return to racing is not on the cards, not even in Extreme E.
After securing his first and only title in 2016, Rosberg announced his shock retirement from Formula 1 and racing in general just days afterwards.
Since then, he has moved into TV punditry, driver management and also become an eco-entrepreneur.
And for 2021, Rosberg will be involved in the newly-created Extreme E off-road racing series with his outfit known as Rosberg Xtreme Racing.
Extreme E will feature a 50/50 gender split in its teams, and flying the flag for Rosberg Xtreme Racing will be Swedish racer Johan Kristoffersson and Australia’s Molly Taylor.
Rosberg has insisted he never considered racing in the series himself, saying his competitive life behind the wheel is done.
“My active career is over. First of all, I don’t want to be a racing driver anymore because my new life as a sustainability entrepreneur is very fulfilling,” he told e-formel.de.
“Second, it is also the lack of off-road experience. I would have to practice so much until I get to the level that is required in Extreme E. There are the top off-road drivers in the world. I want to win as a team, so it was also important to me to find the best drivers in the world. I did it, I think.”
Rosberg said he remains in contact with his former team Mercedes, and in the past had even been linked with their Formula E outfit which made its debut in 2019.
But that was also not an option for Rosberg as such a commitment would take away his flexibility.
“Mercedes has always been my racing family, of course. That’s why there is still a close connection,” he said.
“My problem is that I want to keep my current flexibility. A championship year in Formula E would be too intense and uncompromising for me today.
“I would lose my flexibility because there are a lot more races than with Extreme E. And that’s the nice thing about it – the program is not that intensive but the sustainability component is even greater. That’s why it suits me even better than Formula E.”
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The big question is what could Extreme E bring that Formula E is lacking when it comes to building up a solid fanbase?
Well, Rosberg thinks the fact each team features a female driver will be a huge breakthrough for women in motorsport and attract plenty of female fans to the series.
“The topic of diversity is important. Each team has a man and a woman who are equal in the race. I think that will be very well received,” he explained.
“Especially with the women of this world who will watch the races. Then I believe we will experience fascinating racing – wheel-to-wheel duels at the most incredible locations in the world, for example in front of a glacier. That alone will produce visually powerful images. And sustainability is also very important. We fight climate change by creating awareness and supporting local projects.
“Formula E is on the right track and improving every year. At the age of six it’s still a young championship. I think you just have to get to know a lot more people.
“Perhaps the drivers have to become even more stars themselves. It just takes time to bring out the drivers’ personalities even more. This is crucial because people want to follow people.”
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