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Ferrari not expecting a "weaker" Mercedes after Rosberg's exit

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Ferrari not expecting a "weaker" Mercedes after Rosberg's exit
By:
Dec 5, 2016, 9:02 AM

Ferrari's chief executive Sergio Marchionne does not think that the Mercedes Formula 1 team will be weakened in 2017 by the shock retirement of Nico Rosberg.

Sergio Marchionne, Ferrari President and CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Race winner Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1
Maurizio Arrivabene,Ferrari Team Principal with Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
World Champion Nico Rosberg celebrates
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates his World Championship with wife Vivian Rosberg and the team
Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari Team Principal
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1, 2016 World Championship Victory Behind-the-Scenes

Speaking at the Ferrari World Finals event in Daytona on Sunday, Marchionne said he was as surprised as everyone else over Rosberg's retirement revelation – and immediately sent a text to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

When asked by Motorsport.com for his reaction to the Rosberg news, Marchionne replied: "I sent a message over to Toto, I was flying when the news came out, and I was surprised in a sense.

"I actually complimented Rosberg for having had the courage for what he did.

"I think timing in life is everything. He's exiting the F1 season as a champion. He can't get better than that.

"I think Nico had reached an age where he'd invested a long part of his life to racing. And coming out as a champion is a culmination of his expectations.

"I compliment him for making his choice, and I'm not sure where that leaves Mercedes for 2017.

"I do not expect a weaker Mercedes at all. Let's not forget that they still have Lewis Hamilton on board, and I'm sure they'll choose a driver of equal potential calibre as they've had in the past."

Respect from Arrivabene

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene believes Rosberg that is "looking for a different life" outside of F1, having achieved his primary goal in the sport.

"This world we are so focused on technology that sometimes we forget that we're human beings," he said. "I respect his whole decision.

"Sometimes we look left, look right and we forget that in the middle we have a heart and brain. Nico was feeling this, and looking for a different life."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Charles Bradley