Five days after taking the title he announced his retirement from motorsport with a decision that rocked the world. IU MAG catches up with Nico in Ibiza, where today, he is enjoying life at much more of a leisurely pace...
You live in Monaco but have been a regular face in Ibiza for years. How far does your love affair with the white island go back?
I spent a lot of my childhood here and Ibiza is where my passion for cars and racing actually began as I learnt to go-kart on my dad’s land here.
And you have a very famous party venue near the house I understand...?
That’s right! You’ve heard about the legendary ‘Cave’ parties, well this mystical place is actually right next
to where the go-kart track is. So next time you are partying there, look down and you will see where Nico Rosberg
learnt to drive!
Did you ever go to the parties?
No, they were a little, er ‘extreme’ for me. They sounded amazing though from where we were having breakfast!
What brought your father Keke here in the first place?
I think a girl, but there were other connections such as the people he was driving for at the time all had houses here. We lived in Ibiza for a year or so when I was younger and at first I didn’t like the island. All the older people would just sit around drinking beer in the bars and I found it a bit boring. It didn’t take too long to fall in love with it though and these days we come every two months. It’s also our Christmas home as the winters here are so special.
You dedicated 25 years of your life to winning the F1 World Title, your dad Keke must have been a big influence
on you? Did he instil the magic Finnish ‘Sisu’ drive in you?
Of course. I grew up watching him
race with total fascination and learnt everything from him. As for the Sisu determination, it was what I was known for on the track. Whenever I was beaten I would use this fighting instinct and come back stronger. It is one of the things that helped me win the World Championship.
How did your mum feel about you following in your dad’s footsteps?
You know something, my mum never watched me race as she was always
too worried about me. You have to understand, back in the 70s there was something like a one in ten chance that a driver would get seriously hurt or injured, the safety wasn’t as good as it is today.
You have a dual passport for Finland
and Germany, what parts of your personality originates from where?
I think I get my fighting instinct from my Finnish heritage and my dedication and focus from the German side. I have the best of both worlds.
Your wife Vivian and young daughters Alaia and Naila must be happy to
have daddy home more often, what constitutes a perfect day and night on the island for the Rosberg family?
We would start with a nice breakfast
at home and then head into Marina Botafoc where we have a little boat which we’d sail to Formentera. We love Juan y Andrea so we’d have lunch there before venturing down the beach for some serious sandcastle building before heading home during a beautiful sunset. We’d then catch the tuk tuk boat into Ibiza Town for some awesome ice cream at our Vivi’s Creamery before heading home where we’d put the children to bed, have a nice dinner together and then have some chill time.
Ahh your wife’s ice cream parlor, tell us more...
We love Ibiza and we love ice cream but were struggling to find anywhere really good. So we decided to open our own! Vivian is an interior designer and so she took care of all the design details which makes Vivi’s Creamery the cutest place ever, definitely worth a visit!
And what makes Vivi’s Creamery so special? The flavours are incredible...
Thank you. Well we only use the finest natural ingredients and local where possible - so you can imagine how good the lemon sorbet is. Our vanilla is flown in from Tahiti where the best is grown and is only infused vanilla bean, so it as pure and high level as it gets. Simple, but delicious.
You have been spotted at Ushuaia a few times, why do you love it there?
Well I love the fact that it’s open in the day time which means you can get there early and also go home early, that’s great for a dad! My favourite DJ of all time was Avicii and I went to his last gig there in 2016 – obviously not knowing that it was his last show. It was such a big tragedy and in a way I can relate to him, not to that extremity, but a little. I can relate to always being in the public eye and to be judged by millions
for every single thing you do. It
is the same for rock stars, actors, politicians – anyone out there. There is no switching off and even your family and friends start seeing you as this person in the public eye, there
is no escape and can really influence your decisions in life.
Is F1 a career you would recommend to aspiring Nico Rosberg’s reading this?
You need a huge amount of commitment and dedication for a life in F1 and the most important thing is to never stop believing in yourself. You also need a lot of luck
and of course these days, a lot of money behind you. Anyone wanting to break into racing in 2018 needs to raise around 4 million euros in sponsorship before they can start racing, it’s crazy. And this is
one of the reasons I recently launched the Rosberg Young Driver Academy in Italy supporting young drivers trying to get into the world of racing.
What was the reaction to the people around you when you made the shock decision to quit F1?
Of course Vivian was very supportive of my decision to quit and behind me all the way. Before I told my parents
I called my best friend and he was basically on the floor. ‘I now know how my sister felt when Take That broke
up when she stayed in her room for a week’ he said, completely devastated. I was like ‘shit, in 45 minutes I am about to go live to the world and announce my decision to quit, how the hell can I tell my parents – my dad will be even worse than my friend. So I sent them a text, my mum’s simply said, ‘mum you don’t ever have to worry again’. Anyway my dad came around to the news eventually after initially worrying that I was making a huge mistake. You have to understand, he is also one of my biggest supporters and thought that this first F1 title was going to be the first of many and that I was going
to go onto even greater things. It was
a major shock at first but when he saw that I was balanced and had thought my decision through, he was cool. He now has a better quality of life now that the horrors of worrying about his son every second weekend racing has gone and that I am out of that shark environment. He tells me his peace of mind has returned, which I love.
You obviously have a sense of adventure, there must be a bucket list of things you want to do now that you have more time?
I ticked off the tennis at Wimbledon last year which I have always wanted to go to and I’d love to do a safari also. I also have a big love for classic cars and I have a few roadtrips planned for the future.
What about the business and investment side of things?
I love discovering new technologies
and working with companies around innovation and sustainability. I’m involved with companies such as Lyft and Space X whilst I have a major interest in the whole electric car industry.
Something that has been baffling me. You speak five languages, but not Finnish – one of your mother tongues! Why?
Haha! Well we were travelling a lot when I was growing up and our home language was always German, I did once try and learn it by picking up some books so I could converse with my relatives in Finland but it was hard and I gave up. Hey, now that I am now retired I might pick it back up.
And finally, this F1 season you have been commentating on the races – how does it feel to be on the other side?
It is more relaxed for sure. And a nice way to keep in contact with all my friends and connections I have made in the F1 industry all these years. But readers of IU MAG, I have no regrets of retiring before you ask!
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