Paddy Lowe believes Nico Rosberg’s retirement will be a big blow to Mercedes and has likened it to “losing a corner of the car”.
Rosberg shocked the F1 fraternity last week when he announced his retirement from the sport, just five days after winning the World title.
Having been runner-up to Hamilton in 2014 and again in 2015, Rosberg held off his charging team-mate to win the title by five points after a tense Abu Dhabi finale.
He will be sorely missed by Mercedes with technical director Lowe equating his departure to missing a vital piece of the car.
"From an engineering point of view, losing Nico is like losing a corner of the car," he told Autosport.
"How are you going to recover that?
"We'll be putting a lot of work into that over the next few weeks, making sure we make the best decision possible.
"It is difficult because from a technical, engineering point of view we exist as an organisation to go out there and earn points for championships.
"That's a very, very tough process to go through – we've got some very, very tough competitors.
"Losing such a critical component in the team as Nico at this stage is something that will set us back a bit.
"To break the records we've done in the last three seasons you need a great car and a great team to produce that car.
"But you need fantastic drivers to go out there and score those points at a very, very low error rate."
Lowe, however, says he understands Rosberg's decision to walk away.
"There's the human side and we share some admiration with the rest of the world for Nico making such a brave call.
"We know him well, we know his family, and we understand the move he wants to make.
"It makes perfect sense to all of us. That's the human aspect."
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