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Nico Rosberg wants to add substance to style

Sarah Holt | 12:16 UK time, Monday, 4 July 2011

Nico Rosberg is in reflective mood. After nearly six seasons in Formula 1, the Mercedes driver is still searching for his first race win.

The son of 1982 champion Keke Rosberg is rated as one of the fastest and most stylish racers on the grid but while others, including his former Willams team-mate Mark Webber, have gone on to underline their talents with wins, Rosberg has yet to have his talents vindicated by victory.

The conundrum is not lost on Rosberg who, to his credit, was happy to talk candidly about the dilemma of his faltering career progress.

"Above all is the fact that I want to win races," said Rosberg, who left Williams to join the Silver Arrows at the end of 2009 simply because he felt Mercedes would build a car capable of fulfilling that ambition.

"[I'm] not where I was expecting to be that's for sure, far from it actually. It's been a difficult season for me and for the whole team."

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg insists that results are motivating him rather than his image

Mercedes have fallen from the heady heights of winning both championships in 2009 as Brawn Grand Prix to fifth in the team standings at the halfway point of the 2011 season.

The team say the effort of winning both titles was costly last season and this year they had difficulty effectively interpreting major rules changes.

Mercedes have struggled to find balance with the installation of the Kers energy boost system and performance in the new Pirelli tyres; there were niggling issues with the activation of the moveable rear wing and their adoption of a more forward-facing exhaust - but ultimately what the car lacks is competitive pace.

A year ago, Rosberg was turning heads as he out-stripped his illustrious team-mate Michael Schumacher on his way to three podiums.

This season, the pair are more evenly-matched - Rosberg leads Schumacher 4-3 in higher race finishes - and yet the 26-year-old believes he has taken a step forward.

Can he say that with confidence when the results on paper tell a different story?

"Definitely, you get better every year, you always learn something new," insisted Rosberg, whose best results in 2011 are two fifth places.

"I get my happiness from knowing that I've had a good performance with what I have available.

"To explain why you don't see it on paper is that our sport is so linked to the car and this year our car is not performing as well as it was last year in comparison to other teams.

"But my performance in the car is a little bit better again than last year. I know what can be achieved with our car if I am driving at a very, very high level.

"But now I've probably made a mistake to even mention it because it makes it sound like I think I'm mediocre and I think I'm getting there and that's not the case. It gives the wrong image in light of my recent results with the car."

Image is important to Rosberg.

For starters, he has to contend with the nickname 'Britney' after Ms Spears, which was given to him by his peers because of his blond hair, good looks and interest in fashion. Something he wryly describes as "not the best nickname".

In conversation he is thoughtful, inquisitive and, at times, cautious - he wants to say the right thing. In glimpses of him away from the pressures of the F1 paddock, he is friendly and has a dry sense of humour.

But of more importance to Rosberg is how he is perceived as a driver, particularly as he is intent on finding a place in a team who can give him a winning car.

"Image has an influence on what sort of car I will get to drive or deals that I'm offered by teams," he added.

"In general, I'm not concerned with it at all, I'm here to race and drive race cars but there is the fact that my career, and when can I win races, relies entirely on what sort of car I have and in order to have a good car the perception of others, especially the team bosses, is something that is important."

Rosberg wants to put himself in the shop window for the consideration of the front-running teams and there has been recent speculation linking him to McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull as well as reports that he will extend his contract with Mercedes until 2016.

"There is interest from other top teams, which is a good thing for my career, but there is nothing more than that," he commented.

Last month, Rosberg visited the Mercedes factory in Brackley to check on the development of updates for the 2011 car and to sit down with team principal Ross Brawn.

"I [wanted] to ask some questions because obviously we are not where we want to be," Rosberg explained.

"I spoke to Ross and the feeling was positive. I believe in this team long-term. This team will have success - it's just difficult to say when."

And, for now, that may mean Rosberg has to remain patient in his search for his elusive first grand prix victory.


  • Comment number 1.

    Is this even a blog? A racing driver wants a grand prix victory... Isn't this quite obvious??

  • Comment number 2.

    With Ross Brawn at the helm, how can things NOT get better?

  • Comment number 3.

    I think Nico is a fantastic driver who is more than capable of winning races and championships.
    He has been quite unfortunate in his career as he has joined two teams (Williams and Mercedes) when those teams have been entering a downward spiral of competitiveness.
    He was always going to suffer at the hands of being Schumacher's team mate too. If he beats Schumacher then it is because Schumacher is not the force he was in F1. If Nico loses to Schumacher then it is further confirmation he is rather average.
    Personally, I think Mclaren would be crazy not to attempt to acquire his services should Lewis leave the team.
    Rosberg is a good driver waiting for the opportunity to become a great one in the right car.

  • Comment number 4.

    I agree with the above post, he's just been unlucky. I think he's a great driver.

    Again i echo mark in thinking mclaren should move for him should lewis leave.

  • Comment number 5.

    Rosberg is marked out from most F1 drivers by his higher level of intelligence and understanding of the whole business. He is none the less a 'driver' and his goal is winning - he is torn by the image of a German driver leaving Mercedes and his desire to win Grands Prix
    If Lewis Hamilton leaves McLaren - something which I think he will stupidly do, then I agree Rosberg should fill that position. If that does not become available then I think he has to re-sign for Mercedes but for 12 months with an option to 2016 dependant on car performance.
    There are many variables in the mix right now - what does Webber do,does Massa continue at Ferrari,will Kubica come back? - all of these present possible opportunities to Rosberg.

  • Comment number 6.

    Isn't this just a case of there only being at present 3 really competitive drives available and those 3 drives are full up.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why are there links to happiness, Britney Spears and the Wikipedia definitions for a sense of humour and Brackley???

  • Comment number 8.

    Who chooses the links for these articles? When I hovered my mouse over "sense of humour" (about half-way through), I was expecting to find a Youtube video of Rosberg doing or saying something funny. Instead I found a link to a Wikihow article called "How to Have a Sense of Humour". I also notice the above "happiness" link is similarly irrelevant. Why?

  • Comment number 9.

    I'm not convinced by Rosberg. He outshone his rusty team mate last year which was great considering the pressures however this year I'm not so sure, he's leading Michael in terms of finsihing higher in races but that is more down to quali than the races. Which makes him a bit of a quali/one lap specialist a bit like Jarno Trulli was for Toyota.

    The fact is that actually in the races his best result was to equal his grid slot, all other races he's lost places from his grid slot. Which surely says something about his ability level, especially when compared with Schumacher who seems to make up places most races. The only other driver not to have improved on his grid slot is Maldonado.

    I can see him winning Grand Prix's in the right car/circumstances but world championships? Given the current field, very unlikely.

    I'd love to be proved wrong as I think he's a really great guy to have on the grid and would love the Rosberg legacy to live on, but I just can't see it.

  • Comment number 10.

    Me mate Chalky could drive, though he's blind in one eye, and his right leg is shorter than the other. Its the downforce, innit? Mind you he put lots of sugar in his tank to sweeten the going.
    He doesn't drink by the way as his old Mum's pension doesn't go that far to the pub.
    See you this weekend at Stonehenge or Stonefolk or Silverfork ...or whatever !!

  • Comment number 11.

    Lewis to RBR, Nico to McLaren, Paul to Mercedes - you heard it here first ;)

  • Comment number 12.

    If Rosberg wants to win a Grand Prix. He'll have to do it in a better car, and by that I mean move to another team. Ferrari anyone??

  • Comment number 13.

    @ 11...

    So where's Mark Webber going to go? You think they'd put Di Resta over Webber. Interesting theory. Take nothing away from Paul though. He'll drive a McLaren one day. Mark my words!

  • Comment number 14.

    @ 7 & 8

    We're members of the proletariat & I guess someone at the beeb thought we needed a nudge, as it were, to grasp the content of the article.

    Mind you, I still don't get it though. I mean, there's not enough about Lewis! And Button doesn't even get a mention. This is the BBC F1 website after all.

  • Comment number 15.

    I think Ross Brawn should have been allowed to run Mercedes as he did when in full control of his own team. JB and RB should have stayed with the team, Mercedes would have then been in with a good chance of being at the top end of both the drivers and constuctors championship. What a waste of superb talent!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Rosberg should take maybe take note of Button's journey to becoming world champion, remaining faithful to the BAR/HONDA/BRAWN GP team through it's evolution. Ross Brawn has such proven ability to produce a winning car from a shoe-string budget, so given the vast resources of Mercedes I think Rosberg would be best advised to hold tight and be patient, the wins will come given his undoubted talent and relative youth. I believe that Mercedes will emerge as a force to be reckoned within the coming seasons... providing Brawn stays on board.

  • Comment number 17.

    At 16: Are you sure Button is that loyal...?? Was it not JB who wanted to leave BAR for Williams, before BAR won the contract battle. Then Button had signed another contract with Williams, but backed out of this contract...??

    A shoe string budget at Ferrari and Benetton?? I know Brawn had no money, but it was Honda who designed that car with all their money

  • Comment number 18.

    it's nice to read a blog about a driver other than Vettel, Webber, Button, Hamilton, and Schumacher without having the classic Grands Prix.

    Rosberg is undoubtedly a good driver and has shown that at several points. 2nd in GP2, his debut drive from last to 7th in Bahrain in 2006, 2nd on the grid at Malaysia that year, and leading the Chinese Grand Prix spring to mind instantly. Theres a reason he got the Mercedes drive.

    Also he only had 2 or 3 years single seater experience before starting in F1 with Williams, and passed the Williams entry exam before he became a teenager.

    Unfortunately, until he wins a Grand Prix, he'll always be in the shadow of his father, but it only takes a small mistake or a bodged pitstop from the other guys when Nico is on form for him to finally get the win he deserves

  • Comment number 19.

    I like Nico and I like the idea of Mercedes being back in the sport, but, with the top three teams being so dominant, and unreliability becoming a thing of the past, I really can't see him/them breaking their duck in the near future.

    Having said that, I think Nico should stay at Mercedes, just like I think Lewis should stay at McLaren. Red Bull are at the front at the moment, but as most people who watch F1 know, they wont be there forever. Nico's day will come I'm sure!


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