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Nico Rosberg Q&A: Bahrain heat has uncovered weaknesses

27 Feb 2014

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg emerged with the fastest time at last week’s test in Bahrain, leading many to single him out as strong contender for the 2014 title. But Rosberg is refusing to get ahead of himself, especially after the German endured a slightly problematic opening day to the final test in Sakhir…

Q: Nico, can you sum up the first day of the final test from your perspective?

Nico Rosberg: The day itself went okay, although there have been a few individual things that did not go so well. Nevertheless, we had the possibility to run quite a high number of laps, undergo a few tests and learn new things as well. At the moment we are already at the set-up phase to make the car as quick as possible. In the afternoon my car had a problem, which meant that I had to stop for the rest of the testing day, but all in all it was okay, although not too fantastic. We are looking very much into the details already, and this can cause that you find something.

Q: Since you are already in the set-up phase, what is it that gives your team an advantage over some others?

NR: I think it is the reliability of our powertrain that gives us a little bit of air between some others, as it seems that we have fewer problems. For us it is a huge challenge to even be able to see the chequered flag in Melbourne, as looking around there are cars stopping left, right and centre and only three testing days left. Now we have to fully concentrate on the important things, and this is exactly what we are doing.

Q: Today it has been hotter than it was last week. What affect has the change in ambient temperature had?

NR: We were able to see a few more weaknesses of our car which we would not have discovered at lower temperatures, and now we know what we have to work on, given the fact that the first three or four races will be in the heat. Having found out about these issues, it basically screwed up my plan to run full throttle and instead I was only able to push at 90 percent, which was a little disappointing. But we must not forget that we are heading in the right direction.

Q: Other team principals have said that you could be right at the very front this season. Does this put pressure on you, or is it rather exciting?

NR: I do not feel any pressure; I am just very optimistic and hope that we are able to do better than last year, which is clearly our goal. I cannot say if we are going in the full right direction, as it is not really possible to compare our lap times to the lap times of the other teams, not knowing exactly what they are doing and testing.

Q: Today you were a lot slower than your best time of last week. How do you explain that?

NR: We basically have completely new regulations on how to build the car this year, and at the beginning you are able to find gains at a really quick rate, because it is new territory that you are working on and you are learning a lot. Initially we will see a very high development rate. Eventually at some point that will flattening out, and then it is really hard to find anything more.

Q: You only have one more day left in the car before the first race in Melbourne - do you feel ready?

NR: Yes, I am very confident. There are a few procedural things that I need to get on top of. This is why we are also practising pit stops, and also I need to memorize all the buttons and functionalities (on the steering wheel) that are new for this season.