A year or so after winning the Formula 1 World Championship, and then promptly retiring, Nico Rosberg has got a bit of time on his hands.
While you might think heâ€™d keep himself busy by hurtling around the German countryside in a powerful AMG Mercedes (he doesnâ€™t, he drives a Mercedes GLC 220d) or piloting helicopters into Monaco (he prefers to rent a Renault Twizy), the reality is that heâ€™s actually designed some cars. Toy cars.
The range of three cars is being released to coincide with Hot Wheelsâ€™ 50th birthday, with Rosberg bringing some F1 inspiration to the range. Thereâ€™s a turquoise theme running across them all, as thatâ€™s Rosbergâ€™s racing colours, with two pretty conventional race cars and one looking like something from the future.
â€œIâ€™ve done this to encourage kidsâ€™ development, to challenge themselves and overcome challengesâ€ explains Rosberg. â€œThatâ€™s what I did in my life; one of my challenges was called Lewis, where I didnâ€™t give up and overcame the challenge. Weâ€™re trying to give the message about playing and having fun but at the same time pushing personal development in strong ways.â€
To celebrate the launch, Rosberg took to Silverstone with an Aston Martin and a series of passengers, from this writer to far more deserving young competition winners. The fuel-burning, tyre-smoking antics included drifting and doughnuts, but was at odds with the planet-friendly future he sees for motoring.
â€œI’m really focusing on e-mobility,â€ says Rosberg. â€œItâ€™s going to change our lives and our planet. It’s going to be a huge step and bring massive benefits. The question is just when it will happen, but it is fact that itâ€™s going to go big. It might not happen immediately, but will once renewable energies come into play, and the energy sources improve.â€
The German family-man, and shareholder in the Formula-E electric powered race series, thinks that changes in the acceptance of alternative energies will have a huge impact on motorsport, with Formula 1 being forced to change its ways.
â€œFormula 1 has to go electric! The whole world is going electric so they can’t have a petrol engine. That would be weird. Formula E has the rights to an electric racing car series for the next 25 years, so it’s going to be interesting what happens thereâ€¦â€