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"Autonomous cars drive better than I do,” says F1 champ
WITHIN A WEEK OF CLINCHING the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship—and beating Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the pro—Nico Rosberg retired at the peak of his 10-year racing career.
The German driver says stopping at the top was “beautiful but unexpected. I went from having truckloads of money coming in to nothing,” the 33-year-old remarks from the Yacht Club ballroom, where he was due to speak at the 8th UBS Family Office Forum Monaco.
As a UBS Ambassador, Rosberg wants to engage the NextGen because he’s “one of them except I’ve already had my success.” He says, “UBS was indispensible during this time as they helped me reposition my attitude towards investing, both growing and preserving capital over the long term.”
Since retiring from the world of diving into car cockpits and whizzing around racetracks at 221 mph, Monaco’s golden child has had to find a new business purpose. “Every sports hero is put on a pedestal—you rule the world. Then suddenly you stop—your reason to win is gone, and the structure of being told what to do every day disappears. I am lucky to have found new challenges.”
The son of Finnish racing driver and 1982 Formula One World Champion Keke Rosberg has redirected his passion for driving gas-guzzling racecars to the electrification of the automotive market. “When I was a Formula One driver I was only focused on winning. Now I see a chance to change the world for the better.”
Rosberg launched his own YouTube channel and has invested in a slew of mobility technologies, including SpaceX, Lyft and, one that he’s most stoked about— what3words, a geocoding system based on 3-square-meter grids that converts GPS coordinates into unique three-word addresses.
For Rosberg, who drives a Mobee, the electric car sharing service in Monaco, investing in Formula E is about developing technology and family-friendly races held in city centers. “It’s a challenge to drive any racecar to the edge and even my petrolhead dad now sets his alarm to get up and
The biannual E-Prix Monaco will take place on May 11 and Rosberg will be on hand to support Prince Albert at a conference. He’ll then head to Berlin to headline the Greentech Festival that he co-founded, from May 23-25, which coincides with Formula E Berlin on the last day.
ROSBERG IS DOING MORE than just talking about alternative fuels. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January,
he demonstrated the emission-free Schaeffler Mover with wheel hub drive technology that allows the shuttle to drive sideways. Rosberg’s company TRE, which his father founded twenty years ago, developed the rolling chassis design that will allow the platform to be adapted for
a variety of uses, ranging from garbage disposal to postal delivery.
“Autonomous cars in five years’ time will be all about the consumer experience and whoever best understands my needs
when I get in the car—what music I want to listen to, where I want to go shopping, who I usually call at a certain time—will win.
“It’s a huge task to get consumers to trust in the technology but the cars will become more and more user friendly.”
Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, Rosberg grew up in Monaco, which he considers his home. “I’ll be here forever.”
No surprise, he works with the Monaco government towards its transport electrification transition. “Tourists would love an autonomous shuttle from Place des Armes to the palace where they could hop on and hop off.
“With the digital reaction time of autonomous cars, honestly, they drive better than I do.”
Nancy Heslin Editor
Nancy (Wilson) Heslin is an established journalist and lifestyle writer. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Monaco magazine (bimonthly in English) , since the magazine's 2nd issue . Launched in November 2018, Forbes Monaco is part of the Forbes family, with its 7 million readers and 71 million monthly website visitors worldwide.