Rosberg sure Mercedes can be race winner in 2013

Nico Rosberg thinks Mercedes’ 2013 car is a potential winner.

The German won last April’s Chinese grand prix, but thereafter the Brackley based team suffered a collapse in car development and fell badly off the pace. New teammate Lewis Hamilton has been playing down expectations following the new W04’s launch, but Rosberg – who has driven for Mercedes alongside Michael Schumacher since 2010 – is more outwardly confident.

“I just want to win races,” he told Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper, “and I am very confident I can do it pretty quickly with this car. We still need to catch up,” the German, whose father is the 1982 world champion and Finn Keke Rosberg, warned.

So, to Spain’s Marca newspaper, Rosberg played down hopes Mercedes could fly out of the box in 2013 and immediately start charging for the championship. But asked if the W04 can ultimately win multiple races this year, he said: “It’s what we want to do, but at the end of last season we lost a second a lap. It’s very difficult to make up that difference in one winter.

“You have to bear in mind that all the teams are improving their cars. But I think we’re much closer and the speed at which we can develop the car now looks very good. That’s what we were not good at last year.”

Ultimately, Rosberg said the real pecking order will only be known in Australia, the scene of next month’s 2013 opener.

He does, however, expect Red Bull to lead the field.

“I think so, more or less,” said the 27-year-old. “For sure Red Bull is the team to beat.”


Rosberg: New Ferrari ‘quite good’ at Jerez

Ferrari appeared to find its way with the new F138 car following a difficult start at Jerez. That is the summary of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, who told Germany’s Sport Bild he noticed Felipe Massa struggling with the new red car at the beginning of the first winter test.

“On the first two days,” he said, “the Ferrari did not look good.”

But Brazilian Massa ultimately went on to set the fastest laptime of the entire four-day test.

“Obviously, they found a solution to the problem,” Rosberg surmised, adding that the 2013 Ferrari ultimately seemed “quite good”.

But perhaps not as good as the Red Bull or McLaren, he added.

“They drove as though on rails,” said Rosberg.

Ferrari’s early struggles could be explained by a delay to the F138’s development programme, caused by the push to the death for the 2012 title.

“If we talk about the aerodynamics of the F138,” technical director Pat Fry is quoted by Russia’s, “we started about three months later than we would have liked. We will do everything to make up for this delay,” he added.

Fry referred to a stream of forthcoming “innovations” for the new red and black car. One of them may be a mysterious hole beneath the nose tip that emerged in the final moments of the Jerez test.

“We will see at the next test in Barcelona if the hole is there or not,” read a report in Italy’s Autosprint.


Hamilton says Rosberg ‘underestimated’

Lewis Hamilton has spoken up for his new Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

German Rosberg is seen to have outshone seven time world champion Michael Schumacher during their three years together at Mercedes between 2010 and 2012.

But how much had success and subsequent retirement – and age – slowed the great 44-year-old?

“Nico is a damn strong competitor,” Briton Hamilton told the French sports daily L’Equipe, “I can assure you.

“He is underestimated,” added Rosberg’s new teammate, the 2008 world champion.

Hamilton said Rosberg is good enough to push him right to the limits of his talents.

“If you want to be the best,” he insisted, “you have to be pushed to your limits. And Nico is one of the drivers who can do that.”


Rosberg: Hamilton right to bet on long term success for Mercedes

Nico Rosberg has fended off suggestions Lewis Hamilton is unwise to have decided to switch to Mercedes in 2013.

Some have questioned the 2008 world champion’s move from a front-running McLaren to Mercedes, whose Michael Schumacher failed to score a point despite finishing the race in Abu Dhabi recently.

Explaining the Brackley based team’s slump, German Rosberg said: “We have changed the scale of our wind tunnel from 50 to 60 per cent.

“It’s a very complicated job but we anticipate to be more competitive in 2013.”

Asked if Hamilton’s move from McLaren is surprising, he insisted: “Not at all. He is one of the best drivers available.”

That, however, explains Mercedes’ decision to pursue the highly rated Briton; not Hamilton’s decision to flee established grandee McLaren.

“He is thinking about the long-term,” Rosberg said. “This is a strong team that is developing more and more and will certainly succeed eventually.”

‘Eventually’ is the keyword — Hamilton has already said he doubts he will win races next season.

“I think he’s leaving space open for something spectacular,” Rosberg smiled. “Anyway, I have learned not to comment on quotes that are reported by newspapers!”


Rosberg: One F1 driver smokes cigarettes

According to Nico Rosberg, a current Formula One driver smokes cigarettes.

The conversation of smoking come up when Rosberg was recalling the last time F1 visited Texas.

The Mercedes driver’s father, the inimitable ‘Flying Finn’ Keke Rosberg, won that 1984 race in Dallas.

“Yes,” Rosberg told Italy’s La Stampa, “it was 40 degrees and while the other drivers wore refrigerated suits, he (Keke) was bare-chested in the sun, smoking a cigarette. He had beaten them all before it started,” Nico smiled.

The La Stampa newspaper said the behaviour of Rosberg’s father almost 30 years ago would today be “unthinkable”. Indeed, it was believed the last smokers in F1 were Jan Magnussen at the end of the 90s, or perhaps Mika Salo.

“About the smoking?” Rosberg wondered. “No, you’re wrong — there’s one driver who lights one cigarette after another. I’m not naming names,” he quickly added.


Rosberg: I’m excited by the challenge Hamilton will provide

Nico Rosberg insists he is not afraid of being beaten by Lewis Hamilton in 2013.

Once teammates in their karting days, the pair will be reunited next season as Mercedes teammates in Formula One. German Rosberg, 27, has had the better of the great Michael Schumacher since they were paired together in 2010, but some sceptics point out that the seven time world champion was no longer the all-conquering driver of his ultra-successful initial career.

Rosberg’s real test, they say, will be the 2008 world champion and long-time McLaren driver Hamilton. But Rosberg scoffed at the claim he will have to ‘prove’ himself in 2013 alongside a genuine benchmark.

“Is Michael Schumacher not a real benchmark?” he is quoted by the Telegraph. “Personally, I feel that Michael is still driving very well. But no, no, I understand where you’re coming from and I’m excited by the challenge Lewis will provide.”

But he might also be forgiven for worrying slightly about Hamilton’s reputation for being a tumultuous presence on a team.

“That’s just the perception in the media,” Rosberg insisted. “I’m not worried.

He said that, although different, Schumacher also attracts a lot of attention.

“You couldn’t get a much bigger spotlight,” said Rosberg.

Already, however, Mercedes’ 2013 drivers are disagreeing. Hamilton said recently that he does not expect the Brackley based team to win races next season.

“I expect to win next year,” Rosberg insisted. “I don’t know how many races but I expect to win next year. I wouldn’t talk about the championship, that is not realistic at the moment, but I expect us to be winning races.”


Rosberg: Contract ensures equal status with Hamilton

Nico Rosberg insists he is not worried about playing second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton. The pair, who have known each other and even raced as teammates since their boyhood karting days, will each be driving one of Mercedes’ F1 cars in 2013.

German Rosberg has managed to dominate Michael Schumacher since the seven time world champion’s 2010 comeback, but the 27-year-old might be forgiven for feeling more nervous about the similarly-aged Hamilton’s arrival. But when asked if he is worried he will be Hamilton’s ‘number 2′, Rosberg insisted: “Absolutely not.

“I know the situation. Although Lewis will be a challenge and I gladly accept it. He is one of the best drivers of the moment, but I do believe that I can measure up,” the 2012 shanghai winner told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Since the Hamilton announcement, Mercedes chiefs Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug have insisted that the high-profile 2008 world champion will not be Mercedes’ ‘number 1’.

“Yes, that’s good. And it’s in my contract that I always have the same opportunities as my teammate, no matter who it is,” Rosberg answered.

But at McLaren in 2007, Hamilton clashed spectacularly with his short-term teammate Fernando Alonso. Is Rosberg worried that might happen again, this time at Mercedes?

“I think we’re both smart enough to avoid that,” he smiled.

Finally, Rosberg said he does not ‘feel sorry’ for Michael Schumacher, who has been pushed out.

“No,” the German laughed. “He was not sure whether he wanted to continue or not, but Mercedes had to make a choice — and anyway Michael has said himself that he is not unhappy.”


Rosberg wants best race number at Mercedes in 2013

Nico Rosberg has refused to rule out pushing to be allocated the lower race number at Mercedes next year.

Ever since teaming up with Michael Schumacher at the Brackley squad in 2010, the younger German has accepted the higher race number, despite always finishing higher in the previous year’s points standings. Normally, the driver best-placed in the previous year’s championship gets the lower race number, but Schumacher always argued that he preferred an ‘odd’ number, mainly for reasons of superstition. But Rosberg’s reticence came back to bite him in Singapore this weekend, after both Mercedes cars stayed in the garage for strategic reasons during the decisive ‘Q3’ qualifying segment.

With laptimes unable to sort out the grid places of the two silver-clad drivers, the FIA had to revert to their race numbers to divide them. And because Schumacher wears the number 7, and Rosberg the number 8, it was the seven time world champion who lined up ahead of 27-year-old Shanghai winner Rosberg.

“Given the outcome (for the grid placings) here, I would have preferred to have the lower starting number,” Rosberg is quoted by German RTL television. “For next year, we’ll have to have a look at that (situation),” he admitted.

Rosberg is currently seventh in the 2012 standings, five places ahead of Schumacher.


Rosberg not worried about Hamilton pairing

Nico Rosberg on Thursday sounded unfazed by the uncertain identity of his 2013 teammate.

According to the paddock grapevine, the German’s Mercedes teammate next year will either be Michael Schumacher, who needs to renew his expiring contract, or the current McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton.

“For my part, I am happy if we keep going as we are now,” said German Rosberg, referring to Schumacher. “But if it’s different, that’s OK as well.

“I’ve been following the rumours, of course,” Rosberg admitted. “Personally, I’m happy with my position with the Silver Arrows,” he said, dismissing suggestions he might move over to McLaren to replace Hamilton.

As for whether having the highly-rated yet finely-balanced Hamilton as his teammate would bother him, Rosberg insisted: “Not at all. I’ve known him for so many years.”


Rosberg writes off 2012 title hopes

Nico Rosberg has counted himself out of the running for the 2012 world championship.

Earlier this year, his Mercedes teammate Michael Schumacher acknowledged that he is already out of the hunt for an eighth drivers’ crown. But fellow German Rosberg was much higher in the points standings, having broken through for his first pole and victory in Shanghai.

Mercedes, however, has struggled since then, with Rosberg finishing second at Monaco but thereafter managing a highest finish of just sixth place.

The 27-year-old is now seventh in the drivers’ standings, almost 100 points off Fernando Alonso’s lead with seven races to go.

“For us,” Rosberg told DAPD news agency, “the season has been decided in the sense that we know we cannot win the championship now.”

Mathematically, however, the German can still win the championship, if he scores almost 14 points on average more than Ferrari’s Alonso in every race until late November’s Brazil finale.

Rosberg does, however, think it is possible for defending champion Sebastian Vettel to leap from fourth to first in the standings, “because Red Bull has a strong car”.

He admits that Alonso is the clear favourite.

“The others behind him make mistakes, or their cars break down, while he is the most consistent driver. He has a good chance to be world champion.”

But Rosberg does not think the Spaniard can yet be counted among the sport’s best of all time.

“Schumacher, Senna, Fangio — that’s it,” he said.