Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes that Nico Rosberg may eventually perform a U-turn and return to race in Formula One again.
Rosberg won his maiden world title with Mercedes in 2016 and promptly retired from the sport just days later, saying that the stresses of battling for a championship with Lewis Hamilton, allied to the fact that he had a young family, left him unwilling to commit for another season.
Since then, Rosberg has insisted that he is happy being away from F1 and has no interest in returning to competition.
However, Wolff, who managed three years of internal conflict at Mercedes between Rosberg and Hamilton, believes that the German decided to quit Formula One far too early, and it is a decision that he may regret.
“I think when he took the decision to retire it was because it was just too much,” said Wolff.
“It was a very stressful year against probably the best driver in F1 and he felt, at that stage, exhausted. That is how he appeared to me.
“But, he is 31 years old. If he is unlucky, he has another 70 years to go in his life!
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he changes his mind in a year and reappears in a Ferrari! Or somewhere else.”
Mercedes signed Valtteri Bottas from Williams at short notice to replace Rosberg when he stepped down last December.
Rosberg is currently acting as an ambassador for Mercedes and he has appeared at a number of Grands Prix already this season.
Although, while Wolff does think Rosberg might eventually return to F1, the Austrian does not see his former driver emulating Fernando Alonso and racing in the Indy 500.
“I think that doing the Indy 500 is very challenging for a racing driver,” Wolff added.
“I loved it because of Fernando, until he retired, but I don’t think Nico calculating the risk and reward would go on to an oval with an IndyCar.”
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