Written by By Mariam Nihal, CNN Florence, Italy Written by By Mariam Nihal, CNN Florence, Italy
To mark the first anniversary of the death of F1 champion Nico Rosberg , his wife, Rosberg’s sister, friends and colleagues gathered to remember his life at Florence’s Taddle Creek Park Wednesday.
F1 fans and sports personalities were among those in attendance, as were Elisabetta Rosberg, Rosberg’s cousin, and British sprinter Reece Hudson, who previously won the European Junior Championships and is expected to make a massive impact in the United States in the next Olympic cycle.
But despite its illustrious group of attendees, Rosberg’s memorial only attracted a very small crowd as the sun set over the Pacific coastline.
When the sun sets and the grass hits the sand, it ends up green and brown. Even in a few hours, the slope is already very grassy. @ET_MBG @FlorenceRosberg @PaleOfTheMan @TaddleCreekParks @LangGap68 @La_FamigliaRio @preciatore_roma A post shared by Laura (@lollidsj) on Nov 14, 2018 at 5:44am PST
Richard, a bartender who was unable to get a ticket for the Sunday event, told CNN he understood the need for closure, but felt it had been rushed and poorly organized.
“I think that it’s right that they’re holding the memorial, but they took a shortcut. It just feels rushed because some of the invitees were asked to come earlier in the day. I think it’s done in such a way that it has no reflection on what the spirit of the event is about,” he said.
Richard went on to explain that many have criticized Rosberg’s siblings, Olympic swimmers Hazel and Cris, for not rallying around their cousin after his death, particularly in light of the bitter financial dispute they had with their father, retired racer Niki Lauda.
But Richard said that “there was so much love” between Rosberg’s family, who had already returned to Germany to comfort Hazel’s teenage daughter, after the news broke of her father’s death last year.
In a statement Wednesday, Hazel and Cris expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of support from the many people who had come to pay their respects to their cousin.
More than 1,000 gondolas paid tribute to Rosberg on the day, which also marked the first anniversary of his retirement.
“For anyone who has ever wondered what it means to be a champ, this was it,” Florence said at the event.
She later shared an image of Rosberg holding a banner that reads “God bless you Rosberg” at the park on her Instagram page.
The world’s most prominent photographer, @perezhilton gave a tribute to @f1 champion Nico Rosberg at an intimate memorial in Florence, Italy. • Through her true tears, she took your heart. • She turned her pain into art. • She turned the journey into the proud moment. • She became the best: In the streets, in the race, in the race. • In your name, go faster, you can! – @barrydespereclesby #soulofnewcanton #queenofthepits #f1 #nicorosberg #Gorgeousheart #postneed #fortheselfie #nickallen A post shared by PerezHilton (@perezhilton) on Nov 14, 2018 at 9:44am PST
The family has asked people not to celebrate the anniversary for at least a year to allow for healing and to protect Rosberg’s memory.