Upon retirement, a glance at Rosberg's life in F1

The driver, who had given no previous indication of his intentions, said he had made the decision in the aftermath of his championship triumph. Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Sebastien Vettel are expected to be sounded out but German Pascal Wehrlein is considered to be obvious choice considering he is the team's reserve driver, has tested the cars a number of times and is a free agent at the moment.

Mercedes' Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg of Germany speaks during a news conference as ...

In a surprise announcement ahead of the FIA prize giving gala, Rosberg broke the news that he has raced for the last time in F1 and will retire as reigning world champion this year.

Rosberg's father, Keke, the 1982 F1 champion, said after watching his son in Abu Dhabi that the strain of fighting Hamilton was sapping him.

"When I was six years old and started out, the dream was very clear: I wanted to become Formula One world champion and that's what I pursued all along and it's mission accomplished for me, I've done it".

'Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target.

Rosberg, who had earlier started a rendition of Queen's We are the Champions to the delight of his cheering audience, told Hamilton: "If you're looking for a German teacher, call me up, as I'm looking for a job". But in the end, I see it similarly, if he finds it right, that's what he should do. Rosberg appeared on course to extend his lead in the title race, but dramatically crashed into Hamilton as the Briton attempted to pass him around the outside of turn two for the lead on the final lap. I pushed like insane in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fuelled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before. "And of course that had an impact on the ones I love too". Can he wriggle out of the last year of his £40million-a-year contract?

A devoted family man, Rosberg said his wife was the first person to know his decision. Even though he received a 10-place grid penalty for crashing into Lewis Hamilton at the Canadian Grand Prix, he bounced back strongly at Singapore, finishing behind Fernando Alonso. Hamilton was leading the race comfortably and was set to win it before his engine blew up causing speculation that the Mercedes team is sabotaging the British driver in favour of the German to win the Championship.

That year, Nico's dad Keke emerged triumphant against the odds, winning the title in a auto with a V8 engine, thus stalling the subsequent dominance of the turbo era.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the team will start the process of finding a teammate for Hamilton next week. The clarity of his judgement meant I accepted his decision straight away when he told me. That is three years younger than I was when I retired.

But Hamilton, making his first public appearance since he was threatened with disciplinary action by Mercedes following his controversial tactics at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, insists he is not bothered who partners him. "Now on to other things - family first, see what the future holds and just follow my heart".