Rosberg extends contract with Mercedes

2012 F1 season

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Buddh International Circuit, 2011
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Nico Rosberg will remain with Mercedes in 2012 after signing a new “multi-year” deal with the team.

Rosberg joined Mercedes at the beginning of last year and will stay with the team until at least the end of 2013.

Team principal Ross Brawn said: “We are delighted to have extended our contract with Nico as we know that he is a driver who can win races and championships.

“Nico has performed exceptionally well for our Silver Arrows team over the past two seasons, achieving results at the very limit of the technical capabilities of our current car. He has an excellent work ethic and, together with Michael [Schumacher], this gives us a driver pairing who consistently push the team to improve and progress.

“As we continue to strengthen our team for the future, we look forward to providing Nico with a car which will enable him to compete right at the front of the field and achieve his deserved first win in Formula One.”

Rosberg added: “To win in a Silver Arrow will be one of the highlights of my life so far, and I greatly enjoy helping to lead our team in our quest to become the best in Formula One.

“I have every confidence that the team will provide me with a winning car, and that we will be able to contribute to the fantastic racing heritage of the Silver Arrows.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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69 comments on “Rosberg extends contract with Mercedes”

  1. so they think Nico is future…I had been convinced last year but I’m not so sure this year since Schumacher have showed significant progress and I don’t think Schumacher is in same class of Vettel, Alonso Button, Hamilton…

    Well, maybe it doesn’t matter. Once they introduce superior car as BGP001 or recent Redbulls, even if Nico is not one of top gun, he could win championship.

    1. Couldn’t agree anymore. I rated Rosberg pretty highly last year, but after seeing Schumacher get the better of him on Sundays, I really do not rate Rosberg as highly as the big 3-4 drivers.

      1. I think this pair is simply un-rateable. We just don’t know true performance of mercedes’ car.
        I think it’s entirely possible that Rosberg is outqualifying and Schumacher is outracing…

        1. but outqualifying is useless unless you race well sunday…

          1. But now ‘racing on a Sunday’ pretty much only means getting marginally better performance from artificially designed tyres. Woop-de-doo. You may see this as a great achievement but I must say that it doesn’t really do it for me!

            The current Formula in this sport does not reward the genuinely fast and exciting drivers enough. F1 2011 has become a case of the tortoise beating the hare. What has happened to our sport!??

          2. artificially designed tyres.

            As opposed to? :D

            Talking seriously though,
            What exactly do you mean by “genuinely fast and exciting”?
            and who exactly are the tortoises?

            We have seen this year, both Lewis and Rosberg beat their respective team mates earlier in the year, by some margin too!

            So knowing that, how can you criticize the tyres? Lewis was beating Button on these very same tyres was he not?

            the genuinely fast and exciting drivers

            To me it sounds like you just don’t like the results.

            Form changes all the time, look at Rubens mid 2009, He was starting to beat Jenson, who had dominated the first 7 or so races. Then by the end of the year, Jenson was back on top.

          3. The current Formula in this sport does not reward the genuinely fast and exciting drivers enough.

            Yes it does. The fast drivers complete a race distance faster than the slow drivers. “Exciting” is too subjective to rate.

    2. @eggry Rosberg has consistently qualified the car at the limit of its potential, which has been seventh place for most of the year.

      He’s started there or better 13 times in 17 races which is remarkably strong and consistent – remember also he had car problems in Q1 in Japan.

      When a driver consistently qualifies that well they’re only going to finish higher if faster cars hit trouble, and that happens less and less with each passing year.

      I think that contributes to an often undeserved view that Rosberg’s race pace isn’t good. This is not to denigrate Schumacher or to deny that Schumacher has been quicker in races at times, but I think it colours people’s views of how well Rosberg’s done.

      1. At the beginning of the year I heard something along the lines that the Pirellis are sensitive to if a car is set up for qualifying or the race. I don’t know if Rosberg has been focusing more on qualifying than Schumacher, or Schumacher looks more to the race than Rosberg, but that might be a factor too.

      2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
        10th November 2011, 11:51

        Hi Keith,

        Indeed the top 3 has much higher reliability than in 2010.

        Based on first 17 races in 2011 there were 10 DNS of top 3 vs. 20 DNS in 2010.

        If you look at top 6 finishes of non top 3 team you have:
        In total 17 times with total points 168 – last year that was 33 times with total points 353 points.

      3. @Keith…couldn’t have worded it better myself, even though I have been saying this all along and especially as I see in recent months MS get the bulk of the accolades regarding Mercedes when ‘all’ NR has done is as you have stated…been remarkable consistant and getting the max out of the car, which we see is a distant 4th in the constructors, and which means that by qualifying where he has he ends up playing with the big boys trying to keep up with them whereas MS passes cars that he should have put behind him on Saturday, but gets all the accolades for appearing to progress.

        Anyway, this news proves what I have said all along…NR is their future, and at least they see it even if many F1 fans don’t. NR has only shown that he will do even better with a better car and not squander it.

      4. When people say that Rosberg’s race pace is not perfect, it’s not that he moves backwards, it’s that Schumacher is usually faster than him, and can even get past him starting from last on the grid.

        1. Helps of course when 9 cars move out of your way at the start. MS is not always faster than NR. Sometimes he has crashed himself out. Sometimes their times are practically identical for a stint. Once, NR took the lead from his grid spot and held it for a few laps until, as everyone expected, DRS kicked in and Vettel got by him.

          Anyway as I say I doubt that the team would ensure at all times that MS should start at the back so that he can finish ahead of NR. Usually the higher up the grid you start, the better, hence their confidence in NR for the future. Also, MS may have been harmed more with his further back grid positions if Renault were closer to them in performance but as it has proved out Merc kind of sits alone in a distant 4th in the WCC while Renault is a distant 5th from that…ie. if it was NR that was starting further back on average, it would be he that would appear to progress as that car usually just ends up where it belongs come the end of the day, just outside the top 6 unless one of them has had an issue.

  2. At least that explains the why of those “Rosberg to Ferrari” rumours of late. Negotiating PR to boost the price.

    I think it makes sense to stay for Rosberg and Mercedes would not do much better with getting Di Resta in either (saving him to replace Schumi?)

    1. I think given Michael’s current increase in form I doubt he is having any plans of leaving. I personally can’t see him leaving Merc until 2014 at the earliest. Either of those Mercedes race seats won’t be coming available for a fair while.

      As for the Rosberg contract, all I can say is brilliant. A potential move for Sutil was a move to Merc. So now that door is closed, where for him if Vijay decides to give Hulkenberg a race seat alongside Di Resta?

  3. Well, duh! Where else would he have gone? Mercedes are the only team with a free spot, the money, and that Nico would want to go to for 2012…

    1. There was talk that he would replace Massa at Ferrari.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys Was that ever really anything more than just people noting how poor Massa has been these past two seasons, and that Rosberg was the highest-rated driver who did not have a contract for next season, and putting two and two together?

        I never thought of Rosberg as being Ferrari material. Maybe this is an excess of cynicism, but despite Alonso’s protestations to the contrary I’m not convinced he’d permit a driver as strong as Rosberg in the other car.

        1. I don’t think Rosberg would be stupid enough to sign for Ferrari just to be Alonso’s team mate, either!

        2. @keithcollantine

          Was that ever really anything more than just people noting how poor Massa has been these past two seasons, and that Rosberg was the highest-rated driver who did not have a contract for next season, and putting two and two together?

          Personally, I doubt there was anything more to it. This is not the first time the Massa out/Rosberg in rumour has come up – I believe there was a similar one about this time last year, suggesting that Rosberg was unhappy with Mercedes and that Ferrari would buy him out of his contract. Ferrari have always maintained that Massa’s seat is safe.

          At the same time, I would not put it past Ferrari to insist that Massa will stay with the team, even as the ink on his replacement’s contact dries. Ferrari have a habit of “encouraging” their people – drivers and staff – to take a sabbatical year in order to stop a team member taking their knowledge of the team elsewhere. Ross Brawn did it and Kimi Raikkonen did it, though Aldo Costa didn’t. I could see Ferrari squeezing a driver out by leaving the negotiation of a new driver’s contract until the last possible moment, leaving the existing driver (in this case, Felipe Massa) with nowhere to go.

      2. There were also rumours of Button replacing Massa at Ferrari as well – which also led to the Horse Whisperer coming out to quash those rumours.

        In Rosberg’s case, there wasn’t enough convincing to make me to think he would move to Ferrari to play second fiddle to Alonso. Rosberg is at Mercedes knowingly that Schumi will retire in the next year or so – which will put him in a great position as the leader of the team when they get a replacement for Schumi. And he’ll be banking on the Merc to be fighting for the top spot by then. If they don’t by 2013 I think he’ll be out shopping for a new team.

      3. Based on the timing of that announcement, and that it sourced from German newspapers, I think it was a classic ploy from Rosberg to get some more money.

  4. i think Roseberg is already the most paid driver in the history who has not won a single race yet

    1. Wait, wait, you can’t rule out Quick Nick yet!

      1. But how much was Nick paid?

        I have read that Nico charge $10000.00 the season, and tahts even more than Vettel and Webber put together… I agree, don´t think there will be another team willing to pay that most for a driver that hasn´t won a rce yet…

        1. Yes, and as Brundle has often alluded to, there is a bit of a perception amongst F1 team bosses that Rosberg isn’t quite a top level driver.

        2. Ten thousand dollars? Seems cheap to me.

  5. And just like that Rosberg confirmed that he was never going to win a world championship.

    Which is a shame – as he is talented – but I think a move would have been highly beneficial for him. Rosberg has been outperformed by Schumacher in the 2nd half of this season (certainly out raced, if not out qualified) and I don’t think is pushing the car like he did at the beginning of last season. A shake up might have changed that.

    1. Sorry but what you’ve wrote is a bunch of baseless claims.

      Mercedes won the championship in 2009 so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they’ll win again.

      Outperformed? He’s still outqualifying him in almost every race and as others mentioned above if you’re the top qualifier outside the top 3 teams they only way you can go in the race is backwards unless there’s reliability issues for them(very rare) or stupid driving by Massa/Hamilton(not so rare). I think Rosberg’s doing pretty well this year.

      Not pushing the boundaries anymore? based on what? That he doesn’t have twice the Schum’s points like in 2010? I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect that. Schumi is too good as well as too hard-working and eager to improve for that.

      And finally where should he go? RBR, Mclaren and Ferrari are closed( there was never any substance to those Ferrari rumours). Nowhere else he’ll have a better chance to win than at Merc. Good decision for Rosberg in the circumstances.

      1. Brawn won the championship – with a car that had been developed for almost a year more than any other.

        I stated that Rosberg had out-qualified Schumacher.

        Not pushing the boundaries – purely speculation on my behalf, but it must be on yours too. My observation is that Nico was either going forwards or staying in the same place during races last year. This year he’s usually going backwards.

        Where should he go? Well i’m not saying that he should go anywhere as you’re right there are no seats available next year. But there will be in 2013. And that’s his mistake in my opinion. He’s going to miss out on the driver shuffle which could have benefitted him.

    2. @sw6569

      Which is a shame – as he is talented – but I think a move would have been highly beneficial for him.

      And where would he go, exactly? The top three teams all have full driver line-ups for 2012. Rumours of Rosberg replacing Massa were little more than baseless speculation, and Ferrari appear to be grooming Sergio Perez for a move to Maranello once Massa leaves the team. Mercedes is the highest-placed team where Rosberg could find a drive for 2012. In fact, the next team down the grid that is known to have a vacancy is Hispania. Everyone else is either already full (ie Sauber), has several well-established drivers in contention for the available seats (ie Renault), or is at an advanced stage of negotiations with free agents (ie Williams).

      1. I repeat the above. Rosberg’s mistake is a drive lasting until the end of 2013.

        2013 is when it is widely expected (to my knowledge) the big driver shuffles will take place (namely Massa and Webber moving). Rosberg’s taken himself out of the frame for those drives.

  6. Because he had such a great last year, its easy to underestimate that he is still beating Schumacher this year (albeit only just) which I think is equally as good.

    Pleased for him because he will win races if Mercedes get their act together, he is a top driver. Just a shame about his website :)

  7. I heard that that he will stay until 2013.So now it’s again time to talk about who will replace Massa in the Ferrari.

    1. @wasif1

      I heard that that he will stay until 2013

      From where?

      1. @keithcollantine Autosport is reporting contract until the end of 2013, with a 2014 option:

        1. Wouldn’t you know, it’s right there in the press release and I didn’t see it. Updating the story now.

  8. Despite me wanting to see Nico in a better car, this was 99% on the cards.

    Rosberg was tipped for McLaren in late 2009, but he shied away and went to Brawn. There aren’t going to be any vacancies there for the time being, but if there was a shock exit from Hamilton, Whitmarsh would probably try to poach first Vettel and then di Resta when that doesn’t work. Why not Nico? I’ll explain in a bit.

    Red Bull have 300 drivers waiting in the wings, that was never going to happen.

    Ferrari seem dead set on waiting for Perez and in time, Bianchi. Else they would have got rid of Massa by now for an established driver like Nico himself.

    So that only really leaves Merc as a solid choiuce. Rosberg has been at Williams, he’s not going to take a step down in the hope that that tea, will then jump to the front. Mercedes is in any case the best-placed team to do that.

    The thing with Nico is he’s both proven and unproven. We have seen him be a solid, fast driver but he’s been around for a few years now and his performance is pretty much known. He’s known to be a good, safe bet. But on the flip side, there’s nothing of the Vettel/Hamilton/Alonso about him and when you need to race those three, that’s going to be a minus point. He’s like a young Jenson Button, not yet experienced enough to out-racecraft his way to wins and not yet in a good enough car to let him win. That’s why he might be overlooked for someone like di Resta because when you have a strong first driver it is safe enough and worth taking a risk on an unproven second driver who might turn out to be just as good, if not better than the safe choice.

    1. Ferrari seem dead set on waiting for Perez and in time, Bianchi.

      Bianchi was pretty lacklustre in GP2 this year. But I could see them going for Perez, he’s been excellent at Sauber.

      1. Yes, I think they were rather hoping for him to improve with time but if he doesn’t, he’ll lose their backing.

      2. @keithcollantine – Bianchi has been massively disappointing since he got to GP2. Especially so, given that he absolutely dominated Formula 3. I find it particularly telling that Lotus ART is retaining Gutierrez, but drafting James Calado in.

        1. I find it particularly telling that Lotus ART is retaining Gutierrez, but drafting James Calado in.

          But did Lotus ART sack Bianchi or did he jump?

          I’m sure I read something from Bianchi saying he couldn’t risk another year in GP2 – if he won the title people would put it down to experience, if he didn’t then his career would be over – so will focus on the Ferrari test role instead.

          1. @timg Well it took Maldonado four years to win the title and it didn’t hurt his chances of getting into F1 – and he wasn’t a Ferrari development driver.

            I think Bianchi’s dilemma is that the best seats in GP2 will probably be gone before the few places in F1 he might have a chance of securing.

            That said, it would have been highly unusual for him to spend three years in GP2 all with the same team. Maybe if he doesn’t land an F1 seat he’ll take up whatever GP2 seat is left.

            After all, winning the GP2 title with a team that hasn’t won it before – as Maldonado and Romain Grosjean did – would be a notable achievement.

      3. But when they tested wasn´t Binchi at least 1.5 seconds faster than Perez?

        1. @celeste He may have been but it doesn’t mean anything as we don’t know anything about the specifications the cars were being run in.

    2. He’s like a young Jenson Button

      Well said. I’m almost sure Nico is fast but not blazingly fast as Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso. However you shouldn’t be faster to win againt someone like but just as fast as them or slightly slower because there’s the other way of fight. Like Jenson Button.

      Many people doubted Jenson until 2009 or maybe 2011(I’m latter.). Nico could master racecraft of Jenson someday or maybe not. Nobody knows how it would be. So, I failed Jenson but I’ll stick with safer bet for a while.

      1. I think Nico will also have the benefit of an engineering degree under his belt too. Give him the next few year of racing experience and Mercedes to get their act together, I think he will be good enough to challenge Vettel and Hamiliton and have the technical nous of an engineer beyond the the two of them.

        I think the future racing driver will no longer just have the talent to drive fast – they’ll need to know how to maximise their car throughout an entire race. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s they used to have qualifying engines and so forth, now day’s it’s about cost cutting and durability – so the drivers will need to evolve as well.

  9. So all the top team seats are nailed down fore next year and there’s lots of thes multi year contracts as well. Looks a bit bleak fo new talent doesnt it?

    1. Not exactly. 3 top team seats are up for the taking in 2012:Webber’s, Massa’s and Schumacher’s. Not saying that all of them will definetely leave but ther contracts are ending. In fact I’m sure that unless there are drastic changes next year both Webber and Massa can kiss their seats goodbye.

      Moreover, it’s questionable whether it is a good thing for a new inexperienced driver to start at the sharp end. It might work, it might not. And there are seats available, now and in 2012 further down the grid. So no reason for pessimism in that respect.

      1. I thouight Schu was signed for Braun next year?
        Anyway I wasn’t really meaning a newbie to go straight to a top team. But if the drivers whove done afew seasons in the lower teams can’t move up to top teams there’s no room at the bottom for new drivers.
        Bit like constipation!

        1. Schumacher has contract for 1 more year same as Webber and Massa. Maybe I should’ve written ” at the end of 2012″ for clarity.

          As for the other thing, teams act in self-interest and do what’s best for them. A team wouldn’t kick out an experienced driver, as long as he’s doing a good job, to put a young driver in. This is the same in every kind of job. A young upstart really needs to work hard to get promoted :)

  10. This is good both for Mercedes and Nico, he is learning a lot from Michael and he is doing some great races, each season he is a better driver and I am sure he can win GPs and championships, though he hasn’t the “killer instinct” that Michael has.

    If Michael is now racing better than Nico is not because Nico isn’t so good, it’s simply because Michael is recovering part of his old pace, and don’t forget it, with 25-30 years Michael would beat the rest of the drivers without any doubt. So the driver who beats Nico is Michael, not a simply good driver.

    Moreover, Mercedes is building a solid project and Michael won’t be in F1 beyond 2013 so then Nico will be the absolute leader of the team, and this is not going to happen if he goes to Ferrari.

  11. The BBc are reporting in their daily gossip column that Shumacher has also extended his contract to 2013:

    1. There is already an article in autosport saying that Schumi hasn´t sign anything yet

  12. Nico puts the car where it shouldn’t be in qualifying, and so does Michael – but where Nico is overperforming on Saturday, Michael is underperforming. So come Sunday one is going to lose positions and one will gain, hence Schumi has come off looking quite good on Sundays thanks to his excellent racecraft, yet they often finish close together. I’d say Nico’s desperate attempt to keep pace with the frontrunners results in a slightly harsher wear of the Pirellis, giving Michael a slight strategy advantage during the race, as he so often starts from 11th.

    I rate both drivers very highly and wish nothing more than for Merc to give them a competitive package next year.

    1. Well said and just to add…I don’t think NR is desperate in his attempt to keep pace (not implying that you are implying anything derogatory) he is simply racing…put another way, I don’t think any team would recommend either of their drivers try not to qualify too high so that they can perhaps make up for it in the race.

      The only time I can see a team recommending a lesser quali position is for the tire advantage that starting 11th has over starting 10th. Otherwise, no team would bank on starting further back and having to mix with and pass cars that should have been put behind on Saturday.

  13. The new Jean Alesi. Though not as exciting. Cant see the Mercs winning a race any time soon.

  14. I think this is one of the strongest driver pairings in recent history. I think nico is nearly as fast in qualifying as Vettel, but could use a bit of race pace. Schumacher always has them covered in the race with his lightning starts and incredible ability to maintain or gain positions against drivers in faster cars.

    1. Awesome Avatar, I rewound that scene from the mclaren garage for my wife to see. Where does Rowan end and Mr. bean begin?

  15. It seems as though everyone in the top teams are playing the long term game. Were teams always this stable in previous eras? It seems like everyone in the midfield and below have been scrambling to find that elusive superstar while the top teams have sat back and given a dismissive, “Nah, we’re fine with what we’ve got.” Granted, you can’t blame them too much with 5 world champions amidst 8 cars.

  16. I also read somewhere that Whitmarsh accidentally leaked Button’s contract is for 3 years.

      1. What was funny as well is that story appeared about a week later on the BBC gossip page.

        Not realizing it was their own BBC interview the details came out, they said Whitmarsh let it slip out to German media after the grand prix and linked the story to the speedtv website which didn’t even mention anything about the German media!

        An exclusive under their noses and they credit it to someone else, only the BBC!

  17. Nico Rosberg. Kicking the greatest driver of all time’s ass since 2010. Glad he’s staying at Mercedes. I like this combination, I think Mercedes have one of the strongest driver line ups!

    1. The only thing keeping Rosberg ahead of Schumacher this year is fewer mistakes.

      Of course it’s the points that matter, but Schumacher’s pace has been better most of the time, and I don’t think it’s fair to say that he’s ‘kicking his ass’.

      1. I think MS also has the fact that the next team to them is in a distant 5th place in the constructor’s to thank for his placing…ie. if Merc had a team or two closer to them in performance MS would have suffered this year much moreso from his lower quali positions than he has.

        It is interesting to me that one could say MS’s pace has been better ‘most of the time’ and yet NR sits ahead of MS by 7 points with one race to go. Realistically, MS’s pace has sometimes only been better for a stint or two, and in the last race his pace was never better than NR’s. And there have been more than a few races where MS’s pace was better but was not something he could handle realistically and thus he ended up hitting other cars from overcooking it and costing himself a wing and placings and points. ie. pace is only useful if you keep it between the ditches. He might have been better off on a handful of occasions to dial the pace back a bit, expresss patience, and live to finish higher up than he did. To me MS showed signs of overdriving in an attempt to keep on top of NR and not be beaten again in the points race. And NR sits 7 points up for all his ‘lesser pace.’

        Most teams would not see one driver quali on average 3 spots behind his teammate and say ‘no problem.’ As I say, it would be a big problem if Merc had Renault and Force India breathing down their neck in the Constructor’s. MS is lucky they are not, or he would have had much more pressure on him to quali better this season. Most drivers beaten 14-3 in quali would be having some serious discussions with their team about their future and what the problem is. MS with Brawn as his friend/boss will only have more effort put into his side of the garage to try to correct the situation.

  18. Mercedes is his best option really. McLaren, Red Bull are unlikely to change their pairing. In my opinion, Ferrari is going to keep Felipe for a while as Alonso would’t let anyone jeopardise his number one status.

    Mercedes is the best of the rest, the only team with a good chance to break into the big three. They have the money, they have the people who have won races and championships before and most importantly they have Ross Brawn. If I was him, I would have stayed at Mercedes as well.

    Renault Lotus is the only other option, but with their unpredictable performance, Mercedes is a much safer bet.

  19. How can you think championships when the driver has never been close to winning even once. So much has to happen before the thought of winning could become something other than wishful thinking. At least thirty races now playing catch up to teams who continue to advance their own programs makes the idea of getting a race win almost impossible. Seems unlikely that the next generation of RedBull , Ferrari and McLaren will fall from grace and that fact alone will keep Mercedes behind the eight ball for another twenty races or more.The only hope is to wait it out until 2013 and rule changes.

  20. While Ferrari is traditionally seen as enticing for F1 drivers, for a German driver, to bring the famous Mercedes Silver Arrows back to the front must certainly be a good goal to target for Rosberg.

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