Bernie Ecclestone believes Nico Rosberg will enjoy a place in Formula 1' history books but not among its greatest drivers.
Asked in an interview with Indian media whether he favourably compares with the likes of multi-world champions Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso, F1's supremo didn't think so.
"Well, let’s just say he is a world champion," he told the Hindustan Times.
The other names that you mentioned (Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso) have obviously won more than a few times and have achieved more. So I would just call Nico a world champion and nothing else."
Ecclestone admitted the German driver's retirement was not a positive event for Formula 1.
"Okay, not as popular as Lewis but Nico was a very popular driver. So his absence is certainly not good for Formula 1."
Mister E wasn't able to offer any insight on who Mercedes could choose to replace Rosberg, although he joined the choir of voices hoping Fernando Alonso could somehow join the German team.
"A lot of people are linking Alonso with the Mercedes drive but I would like to wait and see what decision the team takes. He is a fine driver without a doubt."