Earlier this year we spoke with newly crowned Nico Rosberg about the season ahead and his love of the finer things in life…
In the busy international Formula One annual calendar, what are your favourite places to visit?
It’s the three M’s really – Melbourne Monaco and Montreal. Monaco is home, and then the best races – Melbourne is always cool and Montreal is very much like Melbourne actually – the people are enthusiastic, the city is always fun with great restaurants. It’s just a nice location.
There’s been some criticism of Formula One as a sport in recent times – are you confident about its future?
I am. I really love the sport. I’m sure it’s going to be of interest to many people for many years to come. It’s one of the biggest reoccurring sporting events in the world, and a massive spectator sport. Nevertheless, there have been criticisms and we can do things better. We’re reinventing ourselves this year, with the qualifying rules and no radio communication and only three types of tyre allowed to add more variability, so the sport has been thinking about things and is going in the right direction, and I’m sure it’s going to be very exciting into the future.
You always seem to get to some good restaurants when you’re in Melbourne, yet all the drivers are supremely fit – how do you maintain a diet while on the road?
Yes, great! I’m on a diet while I’m faced with all these amazing restaurants. But normally, when the season finishes, that’s when I start my diet! Because during the season when I’m travelling – when I’m at home, dieting is no problem – but as soon as I get out the door and am on the road it’s just so much more difficult. There are bits and pieces on offer everywhere and it becomes challenging to maintain a strict diet.
You’ve had a long association now with Hugo Boss – why does the brand work for you?
Because they do great suits and I love wearing suits and I also love tailor-made suits, so it’s a great combination. Not only that but even their normal casual looks are very much down my alley. I was just there last week choosing loads and loads of casual outfits for the year.
How detailed is that process?
I go straight through the collection and usually I have a pretty good idea of what I like and what I’m after. I don’t go too crazy with my choices, I like to stay classic in my approach to dressing, and I’ve always been like that.
How do you approach shopping for clothes?
I don’t like shopping. That’s why I go to Hugo Boss because it’s easy! Other than that, I don’t like to go into shops. My wife, she can go to the shop for me and pick out things and they’ll be perfect, and I really rely on her for that.
You’re also a fan of IWC Schaffhausen and we see you’re wearing one of its pilot watches – do you have your eyes on any others?
I have my eyes on – and have asked after – the Big Pilot’s Watch 55, the new version of a legendary watch. And I might have to try and get the old one, which is from the 1940s? (A long three-way discussion about the history of IWC pilot’s watches with IWC’s regional manager Christian Westermeyer ensues). Let’s see if I can get one, I’m trying.
Any other weaknesses when it comes to luxury?
I like driving classic cars but I wouldn’t really call it a weakness because I enjoy it so much.
Has becoming a parent changed your life significantly?
It’s not so different for me. The job is the same for me and at home, I just feel more responsibility long-term to make sure my daughter has a wonderful life, but otherwise it hasn’t changed that much.
What sort of things do you do to get away from the pressure of life as a Grand Prix driver?
I like cycling, sports in general, games like backgammon… investing. Not necessarily in stocks but lots of things… as a creative pursuit. I have some savings of course, from racing, so yes, there’s some property, shares and bonds. Everything goes in waves, all around the world. Property in London was great to be in four years ago but now, not so much. It’s good to be ahead of the wave rather than on the wave and if you get that right, you’ll have success. I enjoy the challenge of it, to try and be ahead of everything else.
How do you handle the pressure and attention that comes with being at the top of a global sport?
A lot of it is about getting used to it… because I have done this all my life. I’ve been racing for 20 years.
And by watching your father’s experience?
Not really with how to manage the career situation, no. It was more a matter of becoming experienced in this life myself.
What does life after racing look like?
Maybe some entrepreneurial stuff. I would like to stay in racing in some capacity, but I don’t really think about it a lot for the moment.
Having visited here many times now, do you find Australians one of the more enthusiastic audiences for your sport?
They’re definitely one of the most receptive. And now you have an Australian hero in Daniel Ricciardo to follow within the sport and you’re very lucky because there’s a great future in Formula One for him. Unfortunately he just doesn’t have the right car at the moment but he will get better.