Tag Archives: Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg: “You can really see how far we’ve come as a team…”

An upbeat Nico Rosberg says he’s been impressed by the start to the season that Mercedes has enjoyed in Barcelona this week, and especially by the fact that the team has not been afraid to add new elements to the package.

He also noted that while the car has appeared to run like clockwork the high mileage has pinpointed some reliability issues, even of they haven’t cost a lot of track time.

“It’s been a good start, and reliability is looking very good,” said Rosberg. “It’s quick, I love the way it looks, if you look at it there’s some real innovation on there, and I’m very impressed by that. You can really see how far we’ve come as a team.

“If you look five years ago we were unable to make such innovation, and now there are so many things which are ahead of the game. I’m not saying we’re definitely the quickest, but there’s some good stuff on the car, which is impressive. For sure you can feel it. Small steps every time, you know.”

Regarding the reliability problems, he said: “We found a few bits and pieces that broke on the car, and we wouldn’t have found them if we’d only done 2000kms. So that has been useful, because for sure that will help us now in the beginning of the season. No race stoppers, but still things which you don’t really want to see happen.”

Mercedes stuck with medium tires and a conservative run plan all week, and Rosberg admitted he’s looking forward to being let off the leash in next week’s test.

“Of course I love to go really fast with low fuel, I am looking forward to that. Pounding round with mediums and a lot of fuel is eventually not going to be so exciting at the end of it! So I do look forward to taking away some fuel.”

Rosberg also said that Mercedes has a good idea of where it stands in the pecking order, although inevitably he didn’t want to elaborate.

“I’m paying attention of course. We have strategists and they’re doing calculations already, so more or less we already know where we are. Would you like to know? Sorry I’m not going to say! So we know where we are, with a band of errors. Because they are able to see full tanks and so on, and after a while they get a picture of where everybody is. That’s quite fascinating to see that work, so we do have a good picture.”

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Rosberg unable to explain run of five poles

Nico Rosberg continues to be mystified as to why he his qualifying form has been so impressive in recent weeks.

The German secured his fifth straight pole in Brazil, much to the frustration of team mate Lewis Hamilton. However, he doesn’t know why things have turned around for him.

“Unfortunately I don’t have an explanation for it,” he said. “What I do know is that I’ve been working on it, if I’m now faster in qualifying then great, it seems that my work is starting to pay off. Because it was one of the big weaknesses, and definitely one of the reasons why Lewis won the championship this year, because that helped him a lot for sure, to be starting first all the time. Of course I’m pleased, but more than that, I don’t know.

“It’s so complex, it’s just trying to understand. The facts are last year I was the quicker guy in qualifying, and this year I was outqualified totally, so something has changed. It’s a matter of digging into it and pushing on and trying to understand the various reasons, and trying to make improvements wherever you can. There’s not been one big thing that I’ve changed in any way, so it’s just really going at it. But it seems that I’ve made progress, which is great.

Rosberg denied that the end of the championship battle had allowed him to relax in some way.

“No, not at all. It doesn’t change. With the way it was in the championship in the end the pressure was on Lewis anyways, because he had everything to lose. I was hunting. So it doesn’t change.”


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Throttle problem prompted Rosberg safety concerns

Nico Rosberg admits he had safety concerns when he started experiencing throttle pedal problems early in the Russian GP.

The German was heard asking the team what would happen if the pedal struck open, but shortly afterwards the issue forced him to pit and retire, all but ending his title hopes.

That was concerning,” he said when asked by this writer how worried he was. “A throttle [problem] is never a nice thing, especially when it was sticking. So I was definitely concerned. So that was why I asked the team what should I do if the throttle sticks, I am full on the brakes. They said there was an automatic fail safe on the car, which removes the throttle in that case when it sees a big overlap, brake and throttle – it will cut the throttle. So that was reassuring at that point.

I had a throttle stick once in Monaco in a similar way actually, in a Williams in 2006. It brought back some memories of that a little bit.

The change happened during the safety car already, so right after the start actually, and from then on I couldn’t come off throttle, so I was doing all the corners with throttle on and then eventually it the throttle on was so much that I couldn’t get around the corners any more.

It was one big step on the safety car already as it came towards me, and just another small one afterwards which meant that it was the end of it. I was trying to take my leg off the pedal, but then the knee would come up and I couldn’t steer any more, and so it was different problems coming in there.”

Rosberg said that recent reliability problems at Mercedes have been frustrating.

It is a strange one, this year it looked like we were looking so good on reliability. To then have still quite a few issues, it is surprising and it has gone worse and worse now through the season, especially in the last couple of months we had loads more issues and race stoppers and things like that. We must look into that again, and continue to improve that area. It seems we haven’t made as big steps as we thought.”

Rosberg conceded that his title chances are now remote: “You have to be realistic now. It is a lot of points. It doesn’t change my approach. I am still pushing to the maximum, and committed, and going for it mentally. So it doesn’t really change much. Disappointing in that respect today, because I was looking to close the gap today, and then anyways, going to the next race and I want to win there. That is the goal at the moment.

It is tough. So much go into a weekend like that. The preparation starts at the beginning of the week with being at the factory, discussing everything and coming here, having an awesome weekend, qualifying, race start, first corners and everything really going to plan and then to lose it in such a way is very tough.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “We have been shown once more the dangers of our sport”

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have expressed their thoughts after attending Jules Bianchi’s funeral in Nice yesterday.

Championship leader Hamilton stressed that the sport should continue its push to improve safety.

“Saying goodbye to Jules was incredibly hard for everyone,” said Hamilton in a team preview. “For myself, I wished I had known him better. But from what I knew of him, he was a kind heart with a great spirit and a bright future.

“Now our sport embarks on a tough road ahead. We have been shown once more the dangers of our sport, that these should be respected and that we drivers commit ourselves to the chance that those dangers are there when we step into the car. We have made great progress for safety thus far and I know that the FIA will continue to make steps forward to improve even further.

“Hungary is a beautiful place, one of my favourites. I will be carrying Jules with me in my prayers and thoughts, not only this race but for the rest of my driving days. I know he’d want us to race hard as he did, and so I will.”

“It has been a very emotional week,” said Rosberg. “The drivers paid our final respects to Jules and said farewell. He was a very talented driver and a good guy. My thoughts in these days are with his family and close friends. Everyone will be sharing the same feelings in the paddock this week – but we must race on and race hard for Jules as he would have wanted to be doing himself.”

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Rosberg gremlins leave bitter sweet feeling, says Wolff

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says it’s a relief that the World Championship has been resolved after the tensions involved in managing an intra-team battle – while emphasising his disappointment that technical gremlins once again cropped up in Nico Rosberg’s car.

“First of all it’s a relief now,” he said. “Although we knew that we’d won the driver’s championship before, we knew that it was going to be a challenge in staying neutral, and balancing out between the drivers. For us it was a particular challenge, so now that it’s over, it’s a relief.

“But then there is also a bitter sweet feeling left. Lewis Hamilton won 11 races, he deserved to be World Champion, he had a really incredible season. He had downs, and many ups, and at the end he’s a worthy World Champion.

“The bitter part is we worked so hard in such a diligent way to make the car reliable to enable the boys to fight it out on track, and that we had the problem with Nico’s car is something which gives it a bitter taste, and I feel that we let him down a little bit. In hindsight you can say from a rational point of view at that stage it was already difficult to make it after he had that start.

“Nico not finishing for us is a personal drama, because we expected to give them two cars which made it to the end. Lewis not finishing, being in the lead of the championship and being in the lead of the race, would have been an even bigger drama. Nevertheless it doesn’t make it any more acceptable to see Nico’s car break down.”

Regarding the Hamilton/Rosberg relationship he said: “It will re-set a little bit over the winter and at the beginning of the season, before it gets competitive. It is very clear that if your team mate, the one in the same car, is your biggest competitor, your biggest enemy, that it’s getting tense.

“I have no doubt that we will have similar situations and similar challenges next year again between the two. Anything else wouldn’t be normal. It’s just that we maintain it on the current levels of professionalism and respect.”

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Nico Rosberg: “Lewis has been the best driver on the grid…”

Nico Rosberg was typically gracious in defeat in Abu Dhabi, conceding that teanm mate Lewis Hamilton did a better overall job this year

He says he never gave up on his title hopes indespite dropping down the order after he hit ERS problems.

The German could still win the title by finishing fifth if Lewis Hamilton retired, and did everything he could to keep on target until he finally tumbled out of the points.

“I still believed in it for a long time, because there was still always the hope… there was always the possibility that also gets a problem or something, and then I only need to finish fifth or sixth. I believed until the end. The very last lap I was still pushing, because that’s what I do, I don’t give up, I just push all the way. That’s also why I wanted to finish the race.

“I’m very disappointed. All in all Lewis deserved to win the championship today, that’s clear.
Lewis won it because he won it, and whatever happened today didn’t make any difference to his championship win. So there’s no point to really focus on that at all.”

Rosberg said that whatever happened today, it had been a great year.

“All in all it’s been a great season for the team, I’m proud to be a part of that. Lewis was that little bit better driver this year, a tiny bit, in the races only. So he deserves the win. For me there’s some great things about this year, I’ve been quicker in qualifying over the two years, and that’s a very good base to work on. I need to work on my racing a tiny bit, and then I’m good to go.

“His level is massively high, his driving out there, he was the best on the grid this year. I was against him, the best on the grid. It was very close, a pity it didn’t work out. But I’m proud to be in this moment with the team, it’s a very special year, the car has been incredible. To be able to fight with for wins all the time and battle it out with Lewis has been great. Very intense was at times. It was an intense battle, but a great battle.

“That’s what I race for, the battles like that. Lewis has been the best driver on the grid this year, and to be up against him, and battling it out, the level was incredibly high. But I also have to find and deliver and be on a level playing field with him, and that’s been a great challenge for me. Most of the time it’s been enjoyable. Of course sometimes it’s not been enjoyable, but all-in-all, a great year.”


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Nico Rosberg: “We’ve got some new challenges to rebalance the car”

Nico Rosberg admits that Mercedes had some work to do today to adjust to life with a FRIC system, despite having already run in that configuration in the recent Silverstone test.

Rosberg and team mate Lewis Hamilton topped the times today, although Daniel Ricciardo wasn’t far behind.

“It felt different a little bit than usual of course,” said Rosberg. “So we have to work around it a little bit and adapt, but in the end it feels OK.

“For sure it will shuffle things around a little bit, without this FRIC system, and we’ve got some new challenges to rebalance the car and get happy in the car. Today was good progress, I was very unhappy this morning and then tried some different things, and it worked out.

“It looked pretty close out there, but on Friday you never know what people are doing with fuel and things like that. Let’s just wait and see for tomorrow and Sunday.”

Rosberg said it won’t be easy to keep the supersoft tyres alive.

“The tyres are difficult, definitely. There’s a lot of degradation, they’re very soft for this race track, and especially for these temperatures. Colder temperatures will help on Sunday, but of course if it rains that’s a whole different story again.”

He also had some interesting thoughts on the weather: “It was very warm out there. I think the ground was 50C, and we’re sitting on the ground, the car is literally touching the floor all the time, and my butt is on the floor of the car. It’s as if I was sitting on a 50C floor! It gets massively hot out there.”

Meanwhile Hamilton agreed that there was work to be done: “It was difficult to find a balance today. Finding the sweet spot of the car, it’s just in a different place now.

“It’s pretty good, but there’s lots to learn. The temperatures are so high, so it’s very hard for the tyres. It’s probably going to be one of the hardest races to manage for the tyres.”

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Toto Wolff: “We have to stay with both feet on the ground…”

Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff insists that the team has to keep its feet on the ground despite its flying start to the season.

Wolff pointed to the fact that Nico Rosberg had to work hard to get up to second place in China after dropping as low as seventh on the first lap.

“It was not easy in the first stint, in terms of performance, the cars were different,” said Wolff when asked by this writer. “Nico lost the telemetry before the formation lap, so you’re basically blind in the car. The way he handled the situation was really good. In the first stint it wasn’t easy for him to overtake cars, and he was following Ricciardo, and there was just no way even on the straight to get past him.

“It just shows you need to get things right, and you have to qualify well. Then at the end strategy-wise we took the right decisions. We were pushing the second stint quite long because we knew that at the end he had to manage the tyres, and this is I guess why Alonso had to back off at a certain stage, because he knew he was not going to finish the race on that pace.”

Regarding the opposition, he said: “We have to be cautious. They’re coming, you saw Alonso today, you saw Ricciardo, last stint again times to our cars. It is quite interesting because what you saw also in the last couple of races that you have situations in the race on worn tyres where suddenly the times seem to be much more closed up.

“As I mentioned Ricciardo was matching Lewis’s times and Nico’s times. In the second stint it wasn’t the case, Lewis was holding but Nico was struggling behind Ricciardo. So we have to find out the way our competitors supply the energy and how the efficiency and fuel consumption works, because it looks like sometimes they go faster and then they don’t seem to manage it until the end of the race.”

Wolf admits the start to the season was better than expected, despite the clear hints from testing.

“Yes it is better. I think you cannot go into a season with these new regulations and think we’re going to make four wins in a row. And I guess that also in a couple of years we’ll look back at the statistics and say, wow, that was a run. You can’t take it for granted. You spot yourself looking… We have one car leading and the other car is fifth or sixth, and you say that’s not good. We have to stay with both feet on the ground and keep the development curve steep and keep pushing, because no doubt it’s going to close up.”

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Video: Nico Rosberg on third place in Abu Dhabi

Nico Rosberg logged another podium with third place in Abu Dhabi, having run second in the first part of the race until he lost out to Mark Webber. Here’s what he has to say about his weekend.

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Nico Rosberg: “The sport is still massively exciting…”

Nico Rosberg doesn’t go along with suggestions that F1 is boring – and says that he always thinks he has a chance of beating Sebastian Vettel.

“I go into it with that belief,” he said today. “Even Singapore it was not even a tenth of a second in qualifying. He’s not that far away, and things can always go such that I get a shot.

“They’re doing a great job, Red Bull and Sebastian, both of them together are fantastic. And it’s very difficult to beat them, for sure. But I find still that the sport is still massively exciting, even with his domination, because if you look at Korea I’m sure nine out of 10 people will say it was a great race. And next year there’s a big rule change coming, the chances are that it’s going to mix things up again and just keep things interesting. That’s my point of view. Of course I would like to end the dominance, personally!”

Meanwhile Rosberg says it’s hard to gauge the potential of Mercedes heading into the Japanese GP, but he believes that the fast nature of Suzuka will play to the strengths of the W04.

“It’s difficult to say at the moment which tracks suit our car and which not. Because if you look at Singapore we were also quick, except for Red Bull. I was the second quickest car except for Vettel. You can’t say our traction is a disaster, because Singapore is traction. I’m not so sure, but if anything maybe my tendency would be to say that high speed corners are even better for us, so this should be a good track for us.”

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