Exclusive interview with Williams Nico Rosberg 14 Sep 2007
He may not yet be a championship contender, but Nico Rosberg is undoubtedly one of the hottest commodities on the driver market. With nearly two seasons under is belt at Williams, and some stunning qualifying performances to recommend him, many a team would be glad to have Rosberg on board.
But with Williams bouncing back this year after a rocky 2006 - and primed to enjoy even more success next season - the former GP2 champion looks set to stay on for a third campaign
Q: You enjoyed a good weekend in Monza. Did it feel good to prove that when the car delivers youve got what it takes?
Nico Rosberg: I knew before Monza that Ive got it! But it felt good as a team to have a good result and to continue our progress.
Q: It seems as though the cars performance has stabilised at quite a competitive level. What should we expect to see at Spa?
NR: It was expected that we might drop in performance relative to other teams through the year and in fact we have done completely the opposite, as we have progressed more than everybody else. So thats been really nice to see. I am quite happy that we have managed to be so competitive lately that we are leading the midfield battle behind the three top teams, so that was a good step for us. And I hope to finish the year like that. Spa might be a little bit more difficult for us, but I think we still have a good chance.
Q: Since the European Grand Prix in July a Williams driver has finished in the points at every race. In what areas has the car improved over the last few weeks?
NR: Thats quite a nice sentence to read. I didnt realise it was like that! The car has significantly improved, I think, just in terms of general performance from one track to the other. It has always been competitive and they have also managed to sort out some of problems we had. They have done a fantastic job so its generally down to doing a good job and thats it.
Q: Aside from Monza, how satisfied have you been with your season so far? The spoils have not been overwhelming
NR: I completely disagree. I think the spoils have been quite good. I have shown some good competitiveness all year. I have been very consistent - always up there. Okay, the occasional race didnt go perfectly because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time or the car stopped on the track, but lately this season has really picked up and I think the spoils have been not too bad. Obviously not what youd want, because you want to be winning races, but we have showed good progress and you cannot jump from the bottom to the top in one day. We have considerably improved our reliability - we are the joint third best team for mechanical reliability - and we have found some pace too. So Im quite happy with this progress, but of course we must continue.
Q: Williams have catapulted from eighth in the 2006 constructors table last year to fifth this season. That sounds pretty impressive, but isnt that position partly a consequence of the poor performances of other teams? The gap to the frontrunners hasnt really been reduced
NR: I dont think your statement is correct. Everyone in Formula One pushes super hard, there simply arent any poor performers and in fact, every year the bar goes up. You just have to see it from where you are and in the last few races we were at the top of the midfield. We have definitely improved and its not thanks to other people showing poor performance, its because we are doing a good job!
Q: The team could even be on track to catch Renault in the standings, renewing your battle with old rival Heikki Kovalainen
NR: I think this year we really could have beaten Renault if everything had gone according to plan. But from my side I just had one or two races where it just didnt go the way it should have for various reasons and with two other races where the car stopped. Without those I really think we could have had a good chance to beat Renault at the end of the year actually, but its going to be very difficult now. Still, they were the world champions last year so its quite a good step for us. And finally with Heikki, it is obviously nice because I know him from GP2 - it brings back old memories!
Q: You are set to remain a Formula One driver next year. Does that help you perform - and sleep - better?
NR: It makes me sleep very well. I actually managed to sleep 12 hours because of that and its really great. I manage to perform pretty good on the track too!
Q: We will definitely see you on the grid in 2008 - but where? Rumour has it that Williams engine suppliers Toyota are keen
NR: I have a contract with Williams and I am happy to stay here. I am really looking forward to the progress we are going to make as a team.