Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has stated that although former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg’s departure from the sport will not be good for it, he will only be remembered as a World Champion, and not among the F1 greats.
The German’s shock choice, which came five days after securing his maiden Championship, has opened a worldwide debate.
Wether or not he can be grouped with former teammate Lewis Hamilton, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, and two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso has come under debate. Ecclestone does not think so, for one.
“Well, let’s just say he is a world champion,” the Brit spoke.
“The other names that you mentioned [Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso] have obviously won more than a few times and have achieved more. So I would just call Nico a world champion and nothing else.”
Despite this, he is insistent that Rosberg’s retirement will be a loss from the sport.
“Okay, not as popular as Lewis but Nico was a very popular driver. So his absence is certainly not good for Formula One,” Ecclestone added.
Following the German’s unexpected exit, there has also been much debate concerning about who could replace Rosberg at the top seat.
Several drivers, including Vettel, Alonso, Valtteri Bottas and Pascal Wehrlien have been linked with Mercedes.
“A lot of people are linking Alonso with the Mercedes drive but I would like to wait and see what decision the team takes. He is a fine driver without a doubt,” Ecclestone reported.
It is still unknown what choice Mercedes will make, however it seems that Wehrlien is the most likely.