Sindelfingen: “THANK YOU!” – this was the message delivered by Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg and team-mate Lewis Hamilton together with their Mercedes crew today. It was high time to express gratitude for the immense support given by colleagues at Mercedes-Benz in the past three seasons. Rosberg also took the opportunity to say goodbye to everyone at Mercedes-Benz after announcing his retirement yesterday.
16,500 employees accepted the invitation to return to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen for a celebration of the Formula One hat-trick with the freshly crowned World Champion, and let’ not forget three-time World Champion Hamilton. The banner headline for the event was ‘Motorsport meets Sindelfingen’, so the employees and their families were treated to all the fun and glamour of the racetrack during the course of the afternoon.
There was a pit stop contest in which employees could try their hand at changing wheels and discover for themselves the standard required of the professional crews who fit a car with four new tyres in under two seconds on a race weekend. There was also an opportunity to demonstrate driving skills under track conditions on the DTM simulator. The drivers and team officials also gave fascinating insights into paddock life in a number of interview sessions.
But the demo laps on the Sindelfingen testing track were surely the highlight of the day. Among the vehicles given an outing were the Formula One World Championship-winning cars of 2014 and 2016 as well as various DTM and customer sports vehicles such as the Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Not only the Formula One stars Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon took their turn at the wheel but also the entire Mercedes-AMG DTM Team as well as junior talents such as Maximilian Günther and Mick Schumacher. To round off the spectacular, there were appearances by motorsport legends David Coulthard, Bernd Mayländer and DTM record champion Bernd Schneider.
Nico Rosberg: “It’s hard to believe that almost a week has gone by since I won the title. And what a crazy week it has been! First came that amazingly tough race in Abu Dhabi, then the enormous sense of relief after crossing the finish line, and after that the emotional moments spent with the team and my family.
“Then on Tuesday, we had the World Championship celebrations with our team partner Petronas in Kuala Lumpur, and yesterday it was the FIA Prizegiving Gala in Vienna at which I announced my retirement from Formula One. At last, I got my hands on the championship trophy. For me, a childhood dream had come true. And now here I am today, standing in front of so many Mercedes-Benz employees and thanking them for the huge support they have given me and my motorsport family over the past years.
“I will never forget you. This is a very special feeling. It’s been long and difficult road, but 2016 was my best ever Formula One season and I’ve also driven my best races this year. The whole thing was just mega.”