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Nico Rosberg Q&A: Mercedes will be even faster in Bahrain 26 Feb 2010

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01 Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Saturday 20 February 2010. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday 25 February 2010. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday 25 February 2010. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday 3 February 2010. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Saturday 20 February 2010.

On the opening day of this week’s test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg was one of the busiest drivers in action. Although he stopped out on track at one point after running out of fuel, Rosberg covered 107 laps in the MGP W01 and clocked Thursday’s third-fastest time. With a major update expected ahead of the Bahrain race, the young German’s confident he’ll be a front runner this year…

Q: Nico, what did you achieve on Thursday?
Nico Rosberg:
The focus was on trying out different set-ups to raise the performance. Aerodynamically we are some steps away from our Bahrain package so it is difficult to carry out in-depth work, as the car will be distinctively different. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to go into too much detail. That is why we are concentrating on larger set-up changes, so we can get an idea about the tyres, about how the car is behaving after 20 laps, and so I can get used to the car. Take the steering wheel for example. It’s about as complicated as rocket science - so the more laps we do, the better it is for the car and also for me.

Q: Does that mean you won’t have the Bahrain package until the race weekend gets underway?
NR:
We will get some parts here in Barcelona, but the ‘big things’ will be introduced in Bahrain.

Q: Have the Thursday times been of any value?
NR:
No matter what everybody tells you, times are always of some value, especially when you have moved to a different track. Barcelona is always a good indicator of your own performance, compared to the other cars. It is a good track to get a benchmark. That’s why you look closer at the lap times here than probably anywhere else. When you are driving and communicating with your engineer, you get quite good information about what the others are doing. I will have to sit down with my crew to find out what the times really mean.

Q: Red Bull finished well ahead of everyone else. Is that a worry?
NR:
No, not really. We can match the time and probably even go faster - that’s why it is nothing to get nervous about.

Q: You stopped at one point on the track. What happened?
NR:
I ran out of fuel.

Q: There are two weeks until Bahrain. After three tests, who would you say were the strongest contenders?
NR:
It is still impossible to say. The car will make a big step forward in Bahrain. It’ll be almost like a new car, so everything might be completely different once we are there. I would say we are in pretty good shape. Whether that is enough, I really cannot say.

Q: Is the MGP W01 fun to drive?
NR:
It depends. If you are out with 150 kilos of fuel and deteriorating tyres, it’s still fun, but the laps feel somewhat endless.

Q: You are about to embark on your fifth year in Formula One racing. Are you approaching this season any differently?
NR:
As I said before, we don’t know what the potential of the car is yet. It feels good for sure, but we’ll have to wait until Bahrain. And no, I’m not starting this season differently - there is, and always was, the will to win.