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Former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg to drive new Formula E car

  • Former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg will demonstrate the new Gen2 Formula E car in Berlin in May
  • Formula E is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars
  • Rosberg won the Formula One title in dramatic fashion ahead of Lewis Hamilton back in 2016

Former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg announced he'll be back behind the wheel of a race car for the first time in nearly two years, demonstrating the new Gen2 Formula E car in Berlin in May.

Shortly after winning the Formula One title in dramatic fashion ahead of Lewis Hamilton back in 2016, the German took the shock decision to walk away from the sport and retire. Now though it seems he's been tempted back, to showcase the new car for the first time in public.

Nico Rosberg of Germany
Steve Etherington | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
Nico Rosberg of Germany

The session will take place over a dedicated 10-minute session ahead of the Berlin ePrix on May 19 at the circuit based at Tempelhof Airport in the German capital.

Rosberg has been a long-time admirer of Formula E and the news of his racing car return comes hot on hot heels of another announcement, he has also become a shareholder in the organization.

On revealing the news, the 32-year-old said: "Since my retirement, I've become very interested in the e-mobility movement and its potential to positively impact our society and our planet. I've therefore also long believed in the potential of Formula E and came on board as an investor some time ago."

No further details have been released as of yet by Rosberg or Formula E regarding the exact details of his shareholding, but he is the latest name aiming to grow the sport into a genuine rival to Formula One. Formula E is essentially a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars.

Richard Branson's Virgin Racing and Jaguar are already established Formula E teams, with Rosberg's former F1 team Mercedes also committing to join the grid for the sixth season of the championship in 2019.

With the car industry developing new technologies to create new cleaner ways of transport on a domestic level, manufacturers are looking to appeal to new audiences, by aligning themselves with progressive brands including Formula E.

Head of Mercedes Motorsport Toto Wolff has said "Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture — it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies. Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience — and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series."

Rosberg still maintains ties with Mercedes and acts as a brand ambassador for them — with German media previously linking him with possible management roles in a future Formula E team.

The Gen2 car he'll be driving was first unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March, with the German now to be the first one to officially put it through its paces in public.

It appears he's as keen as anyone to test it out on the circuit — telling followers on social media that he's excited to find out if he's still got what it takes.

— Disclosure: CNBC has a partnership with McLaren