Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2016

Rosberg: Renewing rivalry with Hamilton in Extreme E a “gift” for climate change awareness

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In the round-up: Nico Rosberg says he’s excited to renew his rivalry with Lewis Hamilton – this time for a good cause, as they drive attention to environmental issues.

What they say

Nico Rosberg, who announced the launch of his Rosberg Xtreme Racing Extreme E team last week, says he’s looking forward to ‘renewing’ his and Hamilton’s Formula 1 rivalry, this time as team bosses in the off-road electric championship, hoping that the interest in their competition will inspire more awareness for climate change:

I’m so happy that Lewis is joining us as well because we have this gift of having a huge awareness out there and a huge following, thanks to what we achieved in the past and to be joining forces in this, to really raise awareness of the thread of climate change and the damage that it is already doing in the areas where we’re going to be racing, is going to be hugely powerful.

Hopefully to inspire many people to contribute and to do their part in our fight against climate change. At the same time, though, to combine that with renewing our battle on track – in a little bit of a different position, now, being CEOs or founders, that’s awesome.

Quotes: Hazel Southwell

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Comment of the day

DaveW wonders if the problem with Red Bull’s second seat might not be who gets it – but who could be convinced to want it:

Horner isn’t exactly selling Albon’s seat to any top shelf driver by stating that it’s an unpredictable, difficult car that only Verstappen can figure out. I don’t know what he’s trying to do. Clearly Albon is not making the grade, but he seems to be saying, it’s the best we can do with a mere mortal driver. But that good enough is not very good.

Even Hulkenberg or Perez would have to think twice about that offer – they might stay on the grid but it might be the last year of their careers. What I don’t hear from Red Bull is any discussion of changing their aero or chassis philosophy to create a more pliable car. Don’t they want two cars up front?

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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49 comments on “Rosberg: Renewing rivalry with Hamilton in Extreme E a “gift” for climate change awareness”

  1. Re: COD
    Horner is just trying everything he can to find excuses for Albon because Albon’s Thai backers – the Yoovidhya family – own half of Red Bull. Half of Red Bull, the empire, not just the racing team.

    On the other hand, not sure what his backers get out of having such an underperforming driver represent them.

    1. Albon will come good

    2. @andrewf1 Your right that’s something I and many others here probably didn’t consider. Albon is probably getting more support than any other of Verstappens team mates. I don’t think it will be a Stroll type situation though.

    3. @andrewf1, You have to remember that the ultimate aim of RBR is to sell the product, and the target market is teens and pre-teens which means RBR favours youth above experience hence the total support for Vettel and Verstappen over their older team mates. At the moment it would seem that Thai appeal is more important than extra points, but the moment a new wunderkind appears able to challenge Verstappen he/she will be brought into the team as the new golden child.

    4. He will turn a corner

      1. Just not very quickly and with a locked brake.

        1. CotD!!! 🤣

    5. I disagree completely with DaveW and his cotd. Horner has simply not sold the car as you claim. He has not called it difficult and unpredictable such that only Max can figure out. He has called it more difficult on low fuel particularly on the back end, and they continue to improve that, and he has never said only Max can figure it out.

      Deciding from one’s armchair that they need an aero or chassis philosophy change is pure speculation. They’re the only ones who can actually bother Mercedes a bit with their competitiveness. And since you haven’t heard them state that’s what they will do, like that is indeed what they must do, that means they aren’t interested in two cars at the front?

      No I think I will leave it up to them as to their choice of philosophy for they are the experts and are the only ones who seem to be able to actually compete. And they certainly at this point will be creating a B car like everyone else who is using this years car next year, and not a new-philosophy car for next year, since the year after that will see completely different cars altogether.

      1. @robbie Apart from the fact that Horner and Verstappen have come out and literally said that the 2020 car is difficult to drive.

        Horner also explained that he sees that Albon would perform just as well at AT as Gasly does now, because that car is easier to drive.

        The clear problem is that they develop that car for Verstappen and he doesn’t actually seem to have any notion in which direction the car needs to be developed anyway.

        Albon is just used as a pawn to get some data for Verstappen’s strategy. Fine because by then his race is usually already ruined anyway, but still he would not have been a lap down like he was on a his own strategy without being the designated in race test driver.

        1. @f1osaurus I’m sure you’ll understand if I don’t take your skewed word for anything. But yeah keep running along with your latest anti-Max, anti-Horner talking point of the last number of weeks that Max can’t develop a car. It’s all on Max. Oh that and Max wouldn’t be where he is without sacrificial pawn AA’s tire data. You go with that if it makes you feel better.

          1. @robbie True you just make up your own nonsense. And apparently you don’t have access to Google.

          2. @f1osaurus lol you figure the google box is going to substantiate for me that you are right that Max can’t develop a car? Perhaps since I’m inept at googling you could just show me the link to an F1 insider claiming Max fails at car development or feedback or whatever it is you are trying to claim, unless of course it’s just you being your usual trumposaurus that is.

          3. @robbie You’re more like Trump really. Denying climate change, Covid etc etc etc. It’s clear that Red Bull is not improving. While teams like Renault and Mercedes are. You don’t need Google to understand that Verstappen as number 1 driver is lacking in that department no.

            However, the discussion was actually about the car being difficult to drive and that Albon specifically has issues with it’s handling. There are countless quotes from Horner, Marko, Verstappen and Albon confirming this.

  2. I don’t agree with the last paragraph in the cotd. I don’t think red bull would get any more out of albon if the car was easier to drive. Red bull needs a quicker car to fight the mercs. Not easier car for their 2nd driver to fight in the mid field.

    Personally I find the whole reason of the car being difficult just nonsense. If the car was difficult to drive we would see albon being up there because of his skill but making mistakes, spinning out, locking brakes because the car does something unpredictable. But also occasionally beating verstappen. Max is not god of race car driving. If the car is so difficult then max should make errors as well. A mistake is being slower in some place. Lack of skill is being slower everywhere. If albon was good he should at least handful of times beat max. He is never even close. The car explanation just doesn’t add up.

    Red bull has only one big issue and that is their 3 drivers. They need to put hulk or perez into that second seat at red bull. Perez especially has enough experience to tell red bull if the car is actually too difficult to drive. And has the pace to make that suggestion worth listening to. I think perez would just get on it regardless. Be there with max, sometimes even beating him. Now it is all on max to tell how it is. Max is a smart and hard working guy who has deep technical knowledge especially for his age but it is difficult for him too to be the only yardstick for everything that goes on at red bull.

    Now if max has a bad day on sunday what does red bull do with the data from that weekend? Was the update a failure or step forward? Was the issue with pace with the car? Albon is nowhere so his data is useless. Max says he did all he could. But if you had alonso, hamilton, ricciardo, leclerc, bottas or perez in that second car maybe it would show the car was quicker and max just had a bad race. It happens. But that is where having two good drivers gives you two known good datasets instead of one bad one you don’t know is bad. Making the car easier to drive is a waste of money. Why take step sideways when you can take a step forward?

    1. I guess one missing point is that we do not know if Perez or Hulk would do a decent job in Redbull. What if the chosen one do not fulfill the expectations?. If that driver just performs at the same level than Albon (or Gasly)?. What Redbull would do in that case?. Another year to the trash?. I guess that, in Redbull, they are considering this scenario. That’s why there are keeping Gasly at Alpha Tauri (and why they do not offer him to Renault for P.U. supply). In the case that Hulk or Perez does not deliver, they would put Gasly at Redbull again.

      So perhaps, the negotiations for the Redbull’s 2nd seat are going like this. One or two year contract with the possibility that Redbull could cancel it if performance is poor (probably based on Max data and the “3 tenths gap”). This may be something that Perez sponsors may not like… but I am just guessing.

      1. My thoughts exactly. All we have to do is wait to see a senior driver like Sergio or Nico drive the car and we’ll know who stands where.

      2. I guess one missing point is that we do not know if Perez or Hulk would do a decent job in Redbull. What if the chosen one do not fulfill the expectations?. If that driver just performs at the same level than Albon (or Gasly)?. What Redbull would do in that case?

        To me the main reason to put hulk into the car now is to test him for 2021. It is an unknown and hulk might fail but it is still useful information either way. I think it is worth doing because they have nothing to lose. If hulk does well then get him for 2021. If hulk does poorly then red bull are back at where they were. Maybe try to get perez for 2021 then.

        Gasly, albon, kvyat are not going anywhere. Red bull can do what they want when they want with those drivers. They are not time limited with their own drivers. But they are running out of time when it comes to non-red bull drivers. They already lost chance to get alonso and vettel. A driver like perez will not wait until the end of the season and then even more for a seat if they can get a seat elsehere. Hulk won’t wait either if red bull don’t run him. Red bull has a rare opportunity in hulk but it is very time sensitive situation and it looks like they are going to miss it.

        I don’t think red bull needs to put any special .3 gap to max clauses into the contract for the simple reason that they don’t have any replacements.

  3. Once again, just super excited for Extreme E, I really hope they can pull it off successfully. It just makes sense, electric, climate, equality. So much about it is just heading in the right direction for the right reasons.

    Look at those two in the picture above, they pushed each other to the absolute limit, if they can do so even half as much in ExE as owners as opposed to drivers then that competition will definitely be one to watch.

  4. From the outside this Rosberg move towards this electric questionable initiative looks somewhat tainted by past frustrations. Also based on his bitterness in videos after he left F1. I hope its just me seeing things, otherwise he is once again down a path that brings him frustration rather than happinesses

    1. based on his bitterness in videos after he left F1

      Odd, go check out his podcast series. Nothing even remotely bitter in them, full of gratitude for his opportunities and accomplishments.

      1. I know, but it comes across (to me) as PR talk without sincerity.

        1. True he always comes over as incredibly insincere

    2. Mayrton yes you are seeing things and they aren’t pretty. Sounds like you’re the bitter and frustrated one. You must want to see it this way for some unpleasant reason.

      1. Well thanks, that is good news then for Nico not wasting his time. Cheers

      2. Oh and no need to be personal. Really, no need. Just opinions here.

        1. Mayrton Ok fair enough. Just that as @skipgamer hinted at I have only ever heard Nico, post F1, be highly complementary and respectful towards LH, which is something I respected him for given their intense rivalry.

  5. I may be being churlish. But?
    Zooming all over the world to pristine wildernesses?
    Tearing up those locations with juiced up beach buggies?
    Flying teams & their equipment, personnel & attendant media circus; all over the world?
    OH? Very, very environmentally friendly, I’m sure????
    Rosberg Hamilton et al involved. GET OVER YER DAFT SELVES.

    1. +1, a very questionable initiative indeed. Since it claims to be environmental friendly I would love to see the full carbon neutral footprint report after its first season to see whether I need to adjust my current view of it

    2. The locations are chosen to highlight global warming challenges being faced in those areas. They’re not flying, they’re using a former research vessel to transport the circus.

      Maybe do a modicum of research before making a fool of yourself.

    3. Yea Prof Wadhams Artic Scientist Cambridge University. Dr Woodall Ocean Scientist and Prof Washington Desert Scientist Oxford University. F Oliveira DD of Environmental Protection for Brazilian Government. And all the other environmental scientists working from the ship. Get over your daft selves.

    4. @wildbiker They’re not racing on pristine environments, they’re going to places already badly damaged to document and highlight them (there’s a scientific cohort onboard the St Helena, which is the ship that will be used for all freight – not flights) and then there’s a ‘race without a trace’ policy to leave the environment better than when they arrived, including social projects in the area.

      You could argue the racing has got somewhat lost underneath all that but not that they haven’t considered it.

        All have ready prepared, zero carbon footprint, sites for the racing? OK.
        I thank you all for pointing out the ship transport of teams & equipment.
        Flights? OK.
        Trust all of the electrical support equipment runs of standard electrical supply in these locations?
        Maybe environmentally wind/solar/hydrogen powered generators to be utilised?
        HS I respect you as a journalist.
        Thanks for all of your input on this site.

        1. They’re too remote to use the grid so will be charging from hydrogen generators – it’s a little bit inefficient (because hydrogen just is; the electrolysis to make it uses more electricity than you get back out, generally) but the H will be made using green energy and then allows for it to be portable, rather than relying on (not at all portable) storage solutions like flow batteries. The water from the fuel cell waste will then be used in local eco-projects.

          There’s not going to be a large number of people arriving in the locations (it’s closed door completely, due to the remote nature) so the plan is to turn up to race on a landscape that’s suffered heavy damage – for instance, where there’s already been glacial depletion in Greenland or Argentina – and to run the cars there to show it. Then, with the scientific and environmental support, they repair that landscape to a better state than it was in at the series’ arrival.

          Which, of course, currently, is just things they’re saying – but there do already seem to be quite credible projects involved with the series and it’s something that’s been very much planned in.

          We will have to see what happens! But for my money it’s got a more coherent approach to the environmental elements than Formula E did, early doors.

          Might as Keith if I can do an Extreme E explainer if we have a quiet week… (not likely any time soon!)

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            29th October 2020, 20:37

            @hazelsouthwell Yes please! People really need a deep dive into this.

    5. Yes its motor racing goes Spinal Tap, reminds me of a Harry Enfield sketch with the DJs Smashie & Nicie who flew their helicopters round London to raise £50 for charidies supportin the environmunt great mate.

      Formula E, electric cars with ICE generators running everything in the pits. Still, some people seem to lap it up. If you want to save the environment you don’t go racing. Full stop.

      1. Yeah well I dont know how all this is gonna help though…since we’ll all be dead in 10 years. Honestly, I am just quoting what I saw on TV, a reputable news channel no less.

        Points for trying though.

    6. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      29th October 2020, 20:13

      @wildbiker I see this take all the time. I can understand from one perspective how the micro actions can be seen as detrimental to the cause. That is not the point of these initiatives. The point is to drive public awareness and instigate a larger change. Imagine for example if I were to campaign against the damaging affect of social media on the young (something which is a very real problem) and I used social media platforms to communicate this to parents etc. Would my message be hypocritical because I am using the platforms I believe cause the problems to highlight the problems they cause, or am I just using the platforms with the most reach to communicate an important message in
      the most effective way to encourage people to use them less? Also, side note. Your argument has been used for years to deride genuine efforts to control CO2 emissions. “Yeah but you flew there on a plane!” Not saying your intentions are the same but that argument has been used for years to detract from an urgent message because moving away from fossil fuels is gonna cost some very rich people a lot of money and they’re not happy!

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        29th October 2020, 20:31

        But back to Xtreme E. So, your average pick up truck driver in the States is looking at a 5.5L Ford F150 Raptor which does 15 MPG, sees this series and decides to buy the electric version instead. That’s the point. There is a greater argument to be had over whether battery tech is actually carbon neutral and I have seen estimates that put the crossover around 100k miles before you are really zero emissions compared to fossil fuels but it changes mindsets. That’s the point, not what the logistics that are not shown on camera or really matter to anyone are doing in terms of carbon neutral. The future is either Hydrogen fuel cells, which are nowhere near realistic near term in terms of production and storage, methane which is experimental space tech and nuclear fusion which is at best 50 years away for large scale let alone minatuisation. E vehicles are a stop gap that make consumers think. Once you get the mindset that driving a car with pollution coming out the back is not good, half the battle is won.

  6. I don’t really agree with the COTD. The point of replacing Albon with either Hulkenberg or Perez would be to find out if a more experienced driver like them could cope with the skittishness of the car better than Albon or Gasly, bring more consistent results, and, therefore, more points for the team, and be a better help in development.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      29th October 2020, 10:18

      Yeah I agree – I also can’t see either Perez or Hulk turning down an offer to drive the 2nd fastest car on the grid. They will both have enough confidence in their abilities to compete with Verstappen and would expect to be fighting for podiums every race.

    2. @jerejj I’d say the biggest help they could get from an experienced driver is some proper direction in how to develop the car to finally working from the start of a season.

      Seeing how RP remarked learning development direction from Hulkenberg (instead of Perez) maybe Hulk would be a good asset. Since Verstappen doesn’t seem be doing to well in that regard.

  7. I think the approach of Red Bull to the competition, it’s similar to what Benetton used in the days of Schumacher. They don’t need a 2nd driver. They need someone to be there and not complain, and bother Max as little as possible. 2nd driver points are secondary when you win the world drivers championship. Red Bull is there for the publicity, and we all know that everyone remembers who the champion driver was, and for what team he was driving, but very few remember who the champion team was.

    For me, Hulkenberg fits perfect for that seat.

    1. Agreed, Horner needs another Mark Webber and the closest to that is probably Nico who’s shown that he’s a highly professional driver that can adapt his driving style.

      I think it gets lost that Mark did push Seb particularly through high speed corners, often Mark would set the bar high through these sections which Seb and his engineers would refer to and try to emulate for quali particularly. Mark just couldn’t get the best out of the pirellis or the EBD as they’re both alien to his classic driving style.

      1. Exactly, everyone forgets this. To compliment what you said, when the ebd was largely banned, webber was back on terms with vettel in the first half of 2012. He took the championship lead in Silverstone? (Dont remember if vettel was struggling at that point or not) but as red bull and newey began to recoup the losses from the ban and I introuced a “milder ebd” then veyyel took charge again. I forget, did webber have reliability issues as well?

        And of course the pirellies…

        No wonder he left

    2. @esmiz Verstappen is too inexperienced to lead that team though. He showed in Hungary and Monza that he was unable to come up with a working setup. Resulting in Red Bull suddenly being a second per lap slower than before.

      Having another competent driver in the team means you have twice the opportunities for finding a good setup.

      Also, Verstappen is clearly not helping Red Bull in developing the car in the right direction like Hamilton and Ricciardo are doing at their teams. Having a more experienced driver in the team could help with that as well.

      Specifically Hulkenberg showed that his input even after a single Silverstone race already helped them move forwards.

  8. I for one would like to see Albon at AT next year alongside Gasly. Their head-to-head would probably tell us a lot.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      29th October 2020, 10:20

      I’d love to see it as well. Both struggled to make an impact at Red Bull and now that Gasley has gone back to AT, the opinion of him seems to be that he’s a very good driver. It’d be very interesting to see how he compares to Albon.

  9. Regarding CotD, changing aero/chassis strategy doesn’t make sense for Red Bull. Red Bull has always been about maximising potential. A peaky car fits that philosophy perfectly. It’s OK if only the best drivers can handle it. Widening the margin of tolerance would only be acceptable for Red Bull as long as it doesn’t compromise peak potential. In Red Bull’s perfect world scenario, they would have two of the best drivers who can handle it, so there would be no reason to waste resources on widening the margin of tolerance. Reality is not Red Bull’s perfect world, however…

  10. I’m so happy that Lewis is joining us as well

    Why does he try to make it sound like Hamilton is following his lead? Hamilton announced his participation already in September.

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