Exclusive Q&A with Mercedes Nico Rosberg 28 Oct 2011
As he approaches the end of his second season with Mercedes, still chasing the elusive first win he was so sure the team could bring him, Nico Rosberg talks to us about his past, present and future with the famous German marque
Q: Nico, how would you sum up 2011? What has been the good, the bad and the ugly?
Nico Rosberg: The good were certain moments where I did great racing or even leading the race, like in China, with the Red Bull not coming closer behind me - that was definitely a good one! The bad is some moments where we just had a down period, which is always very difficult to swallow. I just remember Melbourne, the first race, where were not quick enough. Or Monza, where I was taken out on the first corner when I felt that I really would have had a good race coming up. The ugly? Well I cant really think of something really, really ugly. (laughs)
Q: Isnt there the vague feeling that youre running on the spot?
NR: Vague feeling? Not really. I dont let that get to me. I get a lot of enjoyment making the best of what we have and it is a great feeling that I have the opportunity to help lead Mercedes GP - the Silver Arrow - and help build up this team to win races and championships. There are definitely worse situations to be in! Or let me correct that: its a great situation to be in! So Im fully motivated and there is not time to feel vague. (laughs)
Q: So at the moment you draw immense satisfaction from helping a historic team move forward
NR: Yep, it is very motivating. Satisfying is when you achieve the results you had in mind.
Q: Last year you were applauded when you outperformed Michael, but when it continues to happen in midfield this fact becomes less interesting to the press, because who cares about fights among midfielders? What do you feel is the reality of the pecking order in the paddock?
NR: Well, every time I get into the car of course I want to do well. I want to get the best out of the car - and thats what motivates me. To deliver a great performance - probably one above your current weight - that feels good, even if thats in the midfield - because if youve given your best, then you can go home with your head held high.
Q: When you joined Mercedes it seemed to be your sure-fire ticket to collecting win after win
NR: Thats what I also suspected
Q: but currently you seem to be in the waiting room for wins. How frustrating is that?
NR: Well, I also think Mercedes came into this team thinking that we would win straight away - so of course its been a surprise for us all. But now weve accepted it and work on it. We are clearly not the best team in F1 - yet - but well take it from here to become the best.
Q: How irritating is that lack of success in the team? At Mercedes some of the brightest people in F1 are working together to get - it seems - not very far?
NR: It is not irritating, not at all. The team is led by Ross (Brawn) and he brings such a calm commitment into the team. There is no showing nerves, no impatience. He is such a fantastic leader for us all - and people also use him as an example. From my point of view hes got a really strong approach - and that filters through the whole team. There is no impatience at all, but everybody has a strong drive to win again - like they did in 2009. They all want to feel the taste of success again. There is a huge trust that finally all the pieces will come together: the drivers are quick, the team personnel are focused, we have Mercedes backing us and we have Ross Brawn leading us. So there is a great belief that we, altogether, will make it happen.
Q: So whats it like having to time and time again explain why it didnt work out? Isnt that poisoning the mind? How do you manage to keep upbeat?
NR: True, its a funny feeling. Why did we go wrong? For me it is always very well explained and analyzed, why we did go wrong. True, it is below expectations, but it is very well explained and I fully believe, even if it is already the second year where theyve said that we are going to be better than we actually are. I have fully believe that the time will come when we really do achieve our expectations.
Q: Ross is pretty optimistic for 2012. Are you too?
NR: Yes, because I believe in the people that are here. I believe in the people and believe that they will make it happen.
Q: And now that more excellent technical heads are joining the team, do you already feel the difference?
NR: Yes, there is already a difference since Geoff (Willis) and Bob (Bell) joined and yes, we are making changes. We are pushing up to the maximum of the RRA (Resource Restriction Agreement) while other people are having to come down - and that is another factor that implies that we are going to be successful sooner rather than later.
Q: Ross seems to be the ever-calm Englishman. Have you ever seen him lose his temper?
NR: Oh yes, I have. But he also brings an excitement if things go well. If you are racing on that level, like F1 is, of course there are emotions. But I would say that it is a very balanced approach.
Q: Its your second year now with the team - have there ever been any regrets?
NR: Not one single moment. It was a good time and its been a step forward for my career. And it will hopefully last.
Q: How much of the technical development is really shared with the drivers these days - and how much is it understood by the drivers? Can drivers still give valuable feedback or has the technical development outstripped the drivers ability to understand?
NR: Not for me. I enjoy that aspect very much. It is one of my stronger areas. I enjoy being part of technical discussions. I have to admit that there is a lot to understand and that a lot of information is coming through, but if you are racing on such a level like F1 you have to be prepared to understand - and to sometimes get lectures. (laughs)
Q: The last three races wont turn around your season, but you must have a vision for 2012.
NR: I want to do a good job - do the best I can. Our goal is always to deliver great races. Unfortunately we are not in a position to say our goal is a podium finish - that would not quite be realistic. So the goal is to do well - starting here this weekend at the Indian Grand Prix.
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