Nico Rosberg has today announced his retirement from Formula One, an announcement that has shocked the sporting world, and left the sport without a reigning champion for the 2017 season. The German told the media that the decision was made before the start of the title winning Abu-Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, the immense stress and toll that fighting for a world title was something the talented German would not put his young family through for another year. Rosberg, who claimed his 23rd and possibly final victory at the Yas Marina Circuit, was quick to thank his Mercedes team and recognise the situation he has left them in.

This was the culmination of a six-year journey for Rosberg with the team; who he has been with since they bought Brawn GP in 2010. He highlighted many high and low points, including the pressure of racing with his former friend Lewis Hamilton - something he was quick to point out may be mended if they were not clashing on the track anymore.

The shock announcement

Many drivers were quick to praise Rosberg on social media... including people from outside of the sport

Trading Places

Perhaps the most exciting factor of all this is the fact that Mercedes are now left with a spare seat. The fastest car on the grid is a very coveted drive... however most drivers already have next seasons drives fixed in position.

Will the odds-on favourite Pascal Wehrlein, the Mercedes silver-spoon reserve driver land the seat? Or will the team go for more experience and attempt to sway a Fernando Alonso from McLaren, or even an unsettled Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari? Alonso has been very vocal about moving if the right drive came up, and this could, in turn, open the door for a fairytale return to McLaren for the departing Jenson Button, however unlikely.

Esteban Ocon recently moving to Force India may rule him out, as will Nico Hulkenberg moving to Renault. Wehrlein's outburst earlier in the year might lend itself to Mercedes cooling on their chosen talent, however, it does leave the intriguing question of who will partner Lewis Hamilton. A clear number two driver to try and have harmony within the team, or another fast challenger to the Brit.