Former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg says he has no regrets about leaving the big league of auto racing, embracing his new life as an investor driving action on climate change.
The German, who announced his exit from racing in 2016 just five days after winning the world title at the age of 31, has been channelling his riches with a special focus on the green economy.
“I have been a green-impact investor for the past two years,” Rosberg told AFP on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, high in the Swiss Alps.
Rosberg, now 33, is an investor in Formula E, as well as a shareholder in companies such as car-hailing service Lyft and SpaceX, companies he says have a focus on providing greener, more electric mobility.
Formula E is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars. While still about the winning, the sport is about furthering the technology as well.
“Formula E is different. Formula One is all about entertainment, gladiators,” said Rosberg, whose rivalry with Lewis Hamilton from their early karting days was a major thread of his F1 career.
“Formula E is an event. It’s in the cities. It comes to the people so therefore it reaches out to new target groups who would not necessarily go to Formula One races,” he said.
After starting out in karting at the age of six, the son of Finnish F1 world champion Keke Rosberg left the big time to be “in control of my own life” again.
The Monaco resident now says that the seriousness of climate change has modified his world views.
“I see the urgency with climate change. This year it is big and I have been pretty shocked actually. I didn’t know it was that bad,” he said.
Yet, “I still struggle to make it tangible. We are here in the mountains, I live in Monaco. That’s a problem. I wish we had ways to make it more tangible,” he said.
Events like Davos need to do more to get people to follow up all the talk with actions, he said.
“Every year it’s always the same. It’s just the way these conferences work.”
But despite his new passions, Rosberg remains dogged by questions about whether he hung up his driving gloves too early.
“I still have a lot of progress to make in my new life to get away from those questions,” Rosberg said with a smile.
— AFP, Alex Pigman