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Nico Rosberg Q&A: A positive start for the MGP W01 01 Feb 2010

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01. Formula One Testing, Day One, Valencia, Spain, Monday 1 February 2010. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01. Formula One Testing, Day One, Valencia, Spain, Monday 1 February 2010. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP. Formula One Testing, Day One, Valencia, Spain, Monday 1 February 2010. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01. Formula One Testing, Day One, Valencia, Spain, Monday 1 February 2010. (L to R): Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP with Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes GP Team Principal and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP. Formula One Testing, Day One, Valencia, Spain, Monday 1 February 2010.

Nico Rosberg was very proud to pip his illustrious team mate Michael Schumacher to the post and be granted the honour of driving the new Mercedes out of the pits for the very first time on Monday morning, as this week’s three-day test in Valencia got underway. And although Rosberg believes there are still too many unknowns to be able to fully evaluate the MGP W01’s worth, the young German is certain the car has a lot of potential…

Q: Nico, everybody predicts an exciting year. From your brief taste of the car, do you think the same?
Nico Rosberg:
It’s hard to judge a whole season and I can only judge it from my perspective, but I have to say that the initial feelings are very good. I think that this will be an exciting season because of the drivers who are in the top cars. My first impression of the car is very positive. It felt very good, although it is difficult to compare because there are so many things different with the fuel, the tyres, the fuel level you are running in testing and I haven’t been running on this track for a long time, so it is very difficult to compare it to previous years.

Q: Is the MGP W01 harder to drive than the Williams?
NR:
No.

Q: This morning you were running through system checks. Did everything go smoothly?
NR:
Yes, everything went very well.

Q: Did you notice that the front tyres have less grip?
NR:
A little bit, but not much. But in reality it is difficult to compare because we haven’t been at this track for a long time. But yes, it is a little bit different. You do feel you have a little less grip going into the corners, which also influences the braking potential.

Q: How fast is your new car?
NR:
In recent years you probably would have had an impression, but with the changes to the fuel level, you really don’t know what the other teams are running. Before in testing everybody put in around 50 or 60 kilos, but now you have no clue what everybody is doing and that makes it very difficult to get an impression of where your car is in the pecking order.

Q: Did knowing you would be racing against Michael Schumacher influence your winter preparations?
NR:
For me it’s a great thing to race with him. It’s fantastic. It’s probably given me a little extra motivation I must say. Just that little extra touch, which is a good thing!

Q: Do you know anything about Felipe Massa’s time in the car?
NR:
No, but I spoke with him as he very recently tested in Barcelona. He says that he is fine and I must say that it is really great to have him back again.

Q: Is there a plan at Mercedes to run different fuel loads over the test days?
NR:
Yes, for sure there is a plan. But sorry, I cannot speak about it. What is certain is that in qualifying you will run with very low fuel, so you have to practise that and then it gets a bit difficult to decide what you will run in terms of practice and race. It will be difficult to find the right balance.

Q: Normally a longer car is lazier in the corners. Did you notice anything like that?
NR:
No, not really. Does that surprise me? I don’t know at the moment. I’ll probably have a better answer once we go to Jerez. For sure by then we will have a better impression. At the moment I have too little mileage to make a significant statement. All should become a lot clearer once we are in Jerez. We’ll find out whether it behaves lazier in slow corners or not.

Q: What was your fuel load on Monday morning?
NR:
I honestly cannot make any comment on that. What I can say is that it was a significant fuel load. I was not running on low fuel if that answers your question.

Q: Over the last four years you’ve been racing a Williams, but today you drove a brand-new car. Did it feel different?
NR:
That was the question I was asking myself. After four years with one car, with the same people always building it, does the new car feel different? Do you feel comfortable right from the start or not? To be honest it felt very similar. From the position I was sitting in, to the way the steering feels, and to the power from the engine, everything is different, but strangely I felt at home almost instantly and it was quite similar to what I am used to.

Q: In the past have your first impressions been correct for the whole season?
NR:
More often than not. But today is difficult.

Q: Do you already feel at home with Mercedes?
NR:
Well, I have been to the factory a lot. I know everybody by now and in recent weeks I’ve integrated into the team really well. It has been surprisingly easy and everything is falling into place quite nicely.

Q: How has your relationship with your team mate Schumacher developed?
NR:
I get along very well with him. He respects me as I respect him. It’s good I think. My impression is that we will get along quite well.

Q: Over the last two years you have been the leading force at Williams, but now you have a team mate who has a lot of experience. Is that a new experience for you?
NR:
Well, I was racing alongside Alex Wurz who also had a lot of experience, so it is not completely new to me. But with Michael I am sure there are a lot of things I will be able to pick up from him that will prove very positive for my career.

Q: You just said that the Mercedes felt quite similar to your previous Williams car, but does it feel like a winner to you?
NR:
It felt good. But again, it’s impossible to say how good, considering all the different circumstances. In Jerez I should know a bit more about performance.