Nico Rosberg has sensationally announced his retirement from Formula One with immediate effect on the eve of the FIA prize giving ceremony in Geneva.

In possibly the most surprising retirement in F1 history, Rosberg has confirmed in a statement he made the decision to leave the sport on Monday night, 24 hours after sealing a maiden F1 world championship in Abu Dhabi.

Rosberg says he told his wife Vivian and key members of his management team before approaching Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff who is understood to have backed the decision.

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The 31-year-old becomes the first driver to leave the sport as reigning F1 world champion since Alain Prost in 1993.

In an emotional statement via his official Facebook page, Rosberg has explained his reasons behind the decision to leave the sport days after wrapping up a first F1 world title.

Rosberg explains after achieving his 'dream' of being an F1 world champion he has considered the 'pain and sacrifices' required during his title charge and wants to readdress that balance to enjoy family life.

"This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough," Rosberg said. "I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fuelled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before.

"And of course that had an impact on the ones I love, too - it was a whole family effort of sacrifice, putting everything behind our target.

"I cannot find enough words to thank my wife Vivian; she has been incredible. She understood that this year was the big one, our opportunity to do it, and created the space for me to get full recovery between every race, looking after our daughter each night, taking over when things got tough and putting our championship first."

Rosberg says he had been considering a step away from F1 after moving to a position where the title race fell into his own hands in Japan when he only needed to finish directly behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton to seal the world crown over the final four races.

"When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became World Champion," he said. "On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start."

The German driver says he has been given assurances and backing from Wolff about his decision as he looks to relish being F1 world champion before making his next career move.

"There is time to savour the next weeks, to reflect on the season and to enjoy every experience that comes my way," he said. "After that, I will turn the next corner in my life and see what it has in store for me."

Nico Rosberg's full statement on his retirement from F1:

"Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my 'one thing' to become Formula One World Champion. Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I've made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. My strongest emotion right now is deep gratitude to everybody who supported me to make that dream happen.

"This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough. I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fuelled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before. And of course that had an impact on the ones I love, too - it was a whole family effort of sacrifice, putting everything behind our target. I cannot find enough words to thank my wife Vivian; she has been incredible. She understood that this year was the big one, our opportunity to do it, and created the space for me to get full recovery between every race, looking after our daughter each night, taking over when things got tough and putting our championship first.

"When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became World Champion. On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start. I wanted to enjoy every part of the experience, knowing it might be the last time... and then the lights went out and I had the most intense 55 laps of my life. I took my decision on Monday evening.

"After reflecting for a day, the first people I told were Vivian and Georg (Nolte, from Nico's management team), followed by Toto.

"The only thing that makes this decision in any way difficult for me is because I am putting my racing family into a tough situation. But Toto understood. He knew straight away that I was completely convinced and that reassured me. My proudest achievement in racing will always be to have won the world championship with this incredible team of people, the Silver Arrows.

"Now, I'm just here to enjoy the moment. There is time to savour the next weeks, to reflect on the season and to enjoy every experience that comes my way. After that, I will turn the next corner in my life and see what it has in store for me..."

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After reading his statement, it truly makes a lot more sense to me. I'm not a Rosberg fan AT ALL but, I definitely admire him for putting his family and life first. Im sure the pressure of the spotlight took its toll on him and his family. With so many(including me) being so negative towards him. He satisfied his desire to win the championship though and now he wants to focus on the things that really matter. My hat is off to him. Have fun enjoying the rest of your life in a awesome and peaceful manner Nico!

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