Nico Rosberg says it is a 'big loss' for F1 that Michael Schumacher is to retire for a second time.
Schumacher confirmed he will leave the sport at the end of 2012
when his three-year deal with Mercedes comes to an end, with Lewis Hamilton having been signed as his replacement for 2013 and beyond.
Speaking after the news broke in a press conference at Suzuka, Schumacher's Mercedes team-mate Rosberg said it was a sad day for the sport but that the seven-time champion's influence would help Mercedes moving forwards.
“This is a big loss for our sport,” he said. “Michael did a huge amount to make Formula One so popular in Germany, and lots of fans switched on their TV sets because of him. He achieved so much. It has been and continues to be something special and a great experience for me to drive with him and against him.
“In the last three years we pushed the team hard together which will help us in the years to come. I wish him all the best for the future.”
Defending champion Sebastian Vettel, who has raced alongside Schumacher in the Team Germany line-up at the Race of Champions in recent years, also admitted it was a shame to see his countryman moving on.
“It's a big loss, it's a shame,” he was quoted by GPUpdate
. “There's a lot of people who wanted Michael to carry on, including myself. Hopefully he'll take up some other role, so at least we'll get to see him from time to time.”