Nico Rosberg has revealed that he considered calling Mercedes to offer his services as a stand-in for Lewis Hamilton when the British driver tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.
Hamilton was sidelined by the virus, with Mercedes scrambling to find a replacement to drive their W11 alongside Valtteri Bottas for the second race in Bahrain. In the end, the team called up George Russell from Williams.
Rosberg, who retired from Formula 1 promptly after winning the 2016 World Championship with Mercedes, said he had been tempted to call his former team to volunteer on the basis of it being a one-off.
But Rosberg hasn't been keeping up the training an F1 driver requires, and the German acknowledged he simply wouldn't have been able to drive the car for more than about two laps.
"I physically wouldn't be able," Rosberg told Jenson Button as the two World Champions had a chat on Rosberg's YouTube channel.
"I would definitely have considered picking up the phone there, but I physically would not have been able to. No way.
"I would not manage more than two laps with that car. My arms would solidify rock solid, my fingers... I wouldn't be able to hold the steering wheel anymore after two laps, I am sure.
"Not to speak of the neck falling between my legs when I'm braking, because I wouldn't be able to hold my head up! You know, the G-forces on those things, the challenge and the development you need on all your specific muscles, your arm muscles... It's very on the edge."
Button pointed out that Bahrain, with some heavy braking zones, would also have presented its own challenges for a driver out of shape, which Rosberg agreed with.
"In braking, you need to push against the steering wheel, because otherwise you're just gonna fall into the seatbelt," added Rosberg.
"So there's a lot of specific things that you need to use so no way, physically no chance, because I was thinking about it!"
Rosberg has no desire to return
Despite being a recent World Champion, Rosberg wouldn't have been eligible for an FIA Superlicence anyway, unless he had managed to complete a 300-kilometre distance test for a team in the few days between the two Bahrain weekends.
But Rosberg admitted that he would have no interest in anything beyond a one-off F1 appearance. With no mileage in an F1 car since the day he stepped out of his W07 in Abu Dhabi, the 2016 Champion has never wanted to contest another season.
"If you tell me, 'You can try Valtteri's car tomorrow in Bahrain for a day of testing', I'd be like, 'Wow, that's so cool'. I would love to do it," Rosberg said.
"But if you tell me, 'OK, you have the chance to be back in a season now', [then] no, no thank you very much everybody! I'm very happy with my second life and that's all done and fulfilled."
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