Nico Rosberg banned his family from saying the words “Formula 1” during his summer break as both his father and father-in-law would tell him to “pick up boxing” amid his worst defeats to Lewis Hamilton.
Teaming up with Hamilton at Mercedes in 2013, Rosberg and his former boyhood friend soon found themselves in the middle of a fierce and at times nasty rivalry.
Racing for wins in their first season together, the team-mates were then locked into an intra-team fight for the World title from 2014 to 2016 with Hamilton winning the first two editions before Rosberg triumphed in 2016.
Nico Rosberg: It’s like they’re telling me to grow a pair of balls
But such was the heavy toll it played on the German, both the on-track battle and the off-track mind games, Rosberg quit just days after his title success.
And it seems he wasn’t getting any relief from that pressure when he was at home over the summer break with the 38-year-old revealing his father Keke and his father-in-law Bernd Wegener would at times tell him to change sports, maybe take up boxing instead.
So much so that Rosberg eventually banned the words “Formula One” from being uttered by his family.
“It’s very valuable to have that summer break, and just really recharge with your family and friends,” he told Sky Sports.
“Go with family and friends, spend a lot of time, and tell them not to mention the words Formula 1. That’s important, which is often difficult because it carries over into the family.
“I would come home and my father or father-in-law would tell me I should pick up boxing, and the reason was because Lewis was walking all over me the day before the race.
“So my father-in-law or my father would tell me I should pick up boxing when I come home. I’m like, ‘Do you know how painful that is?’
“Oh my god, it’s like they’re telling me to grow a pair of balls. Like oh my goodness, that’s horrible.
“So it goes all the way into your family. So that’s why it’s like F1 talk ban on the family and just recharge.”
Back in 2021, Rosberg spoke about his reasons for quitting Formula 1 when he was just 31, telling Squaremile he made his decision “two metres after the line in Abu Dhabi.
“If you ask me, ‘When did you decide to retire?’ That was the moment.
“I had given it everything. It was a question of do I want to continue to deliver and live in that intensity, and with my dream having come true – I’d fulfilled my goal of being World Champion – it just felt like a great moment to step away and have a new life, with different benefits.”
That day he said goodbye to “about £100m” as he had a contract with Mercedes for the 2017 season. But, he added, “s**t happens.”