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Exclusive interview with Nico Rosberg 09 Sep 2006

(L to R): Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams with Frank Dernie (GBR) Williams Special Projects Manager.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 25 August 2006 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 29 July 2006 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 1 April 2006 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 25 August 2006 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 28 May 2006

Formula One racing looks set to be stormed by new talent next season, with names such as Heikki Kovalainen, Robert Kubica and Nelson Piquet Jr. Williams’ Nico Rosberg is one of their contemporaries, but already has a year’s worth of Grands Prix under his belt. We talk to the German about his 2006 campaign to date, and whether his extra experience will help him stay ahead of his young rivals next season…

Q: With only four races to go how would you sum up your first Formula One season so far? Satisfied?
Nico Rosberg:
I think I am pretty pleased with my first season because the goal for me was to establish myself in F1, to develop a future and I have achieved that so in that respect I am pretty happy. However, in another respect, I think I expected to do a little better result-wise, but it’s a team effort and we just need to work together and we’ll improve. I have had many good moments this season and, of course, also some difficulties, but this is normal in your first season in F1. It was very important for me as young driver to be positive right from the start and I thought I definitely achieved that in Bahrain and Malaysia. Also at the Nurburgring I had a good race, starting from behind and climbing up through the field. I am satisfied even with some races where I didn’t score any points because I knew I gave all I could and I had learned something new each time.

Q: You always show strongly in testing and practice, as do many of the other youngsters such as Robert Kubica, but obviously the race is very different to those sessions. To what extent does experience play to the advantage of the old stagers?
Well, the main thing is Mark Webber is alongside me in the team and this is his fifth year in F1 and I do see from time to time where experience can help. There are so many areas because there is so much to pick up. If you have experience you can be so much more relaxed because you have the benefit of extra perspective, so, yes, experience does help a lot!

Q: You have retired from the last three races. How disappointing is this and how easy is it to put that behind you? Having made it into Formula One racing it must be frustrating when circumstances don’t allow you to show your full potential…
It’s true we had some difficult races recently and it might have been maybe better if I had started quietly and then had become stronger and stronger, but that’s how the season has unfolded. I had some strong races, but no one saw this, because I finished ninth or 10th. But this game is also about dealing with the poorer results too and being part of the fight with your team to improve.

Q: When watching you interact with your team it all looks very homogeneous. Obviously you feel very much at home. Is this impression correct?
It’s great to be at Williams. I am very thankful to them because they have taken the risk of giving me a seat and have helped me so much in my first year in F1. The atmosphere is very good and I feel very much at home.

Q: And looking ahead to the Italian Grand Prix, your test session at Monza last week obviously went very well. Where do you expect to be when the chequered flag falls on Sunday?
The Autodromo is a special track. I believe it’s one of the oldest circuits on the calendar so there’s plenty of history. Monza is also a very exciting circuit as it’s so different to the other tracks we race on. There are lots of straights so you have to take all the downforce off the car. That, though, means that there’s less grip, so it’s harder to drive. Aside from the track itself, this Grand Prix is always a good one because of the Italian fans who just go crazy for Ferrari. They’re great supporters of motor racing in general as well, so this race always has a very special atmosphere. Anyway, the test went quite well last week, it’s true and we spent those three days working hard on improving our car. The FW28 will be quite different this race, due to the specific characteristics of this track. It also makes quite a lot of difference in terms of the way of driving. I really hope we can collect some points in Monza.

Q: What would you think if Michael Schumacher were to leave Formula One racing at the end of this season?
Generally I feel it would be a pity if he left Formula One because he is very important for our sport and for Germany as well. Also, he is a benchmark and an example for young drivers. It makes a difference to race against a seven-time world champion!