Norbert Haug said he is proud Mercedes has reached the top of F1 in a short space of time and with a small budget.
The German carmaker’s works team is often lumped together with F1’s other grandees including Ferrari and McLaren, but Haug insists the Brackley based outfit is in fact “a small team, with a small budget”. Mercedes’ competition boss, who on Sunday collected the winning constructors’ trophy on the Shanghai podium, also said some of the team’s rivals – undoubtedly Red Bull – “took five years to win”.
“We have done it in two and a quarter,” the German told the RTL broadcaster. “That’s not bad at all. And there are other teams that still have not made it.”
So is Mercedes now a contender for the world championship, despite Haug’s earlier protestations that the team needs a few more campaigns under its belt for that?
“It is too early to make a prediction,” he told Auto Motor und Sport. “I hope so, but so far we have seen three different winners in three races.”
The newest of those winners is Nico Rosberg, who along with Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve are the only sons of F1 drivers to have also gone on to win grands prix. It is a good omen for Rosberg that both Hill and Villeneuve also won titles.
Rosberg’s former Williams teammate, Alex Wurz, has high praise.
“As a teammate (in 2007) he made my life difficult because he was such a fantastic qualifying driver. In the race it was then always okay. But for this (race win) he deserves praise,” Wurz told the Austrian ORF broadcaster, “because he did everything after his pole position also sensationally.”
But in Bahrain, there could be another winner, triple world champion Niki Lauda remarked.
“I have never before seen F1 as interesting as this,” said the Austrian legend. “Every race we see another winner.”