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Rosberg vague on what team he’s leaving Williams for
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Rosberg vague on what team he’s leaving Williams for
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Oct 2009   |  5:07 pm GMT  |  65 comments

Nico Rosberg sat down with a few of us this afternoon and promptly came out with the statement that this would be his last race with Williams.

Rosberg: Will not announce plans soon (Photo: Darren Heath)

Rosberg: Will not announce plans soon (Photo: Darren Heath)


It comes as no great surprise to anyone, as he has been strongly linked with a seat at Brawn-Mercedes for months and less strongly linked with McLaren Mercedes. Rosberg’s seat at Williams will be taken by Rubens Barrichello and the received wisdom is that the pair are doing a swap. But Rosberg would not be drawn on where he was going next.

“It is my last race for Williams,” he said. “It is a bit strange because for four or five years it is the only team I have worked with, so it has been a long time. I get on with everybody really well, obviously, and a lot of respect has built up – with the mechanics and everyone. So it will be quite strange to leave.

“I am not sure they can win races at the moment. With budgets still being rather free, and an engine change coming up which will not help, so I am not sure they can win races at this point of time – although I am convinced that they can do very well.

“But I would like to win races. That is what really encouraged me to push for the next step.”

Rosberg said that he would not be able to announce his next move for a while and he didn’t know how long it would take. There are other pieces to fall into place here.

There is quite a bit going on behind the scenes with Mercedes at the moment. They are in the throws of negotiating their way into a controlling interest at Brawn, meanwhile they have a 40% stake in McLaren and a contract to the end of 2011 with them. The CEO of Daimler, Dr Zetsche, is coming out to this race. I have also heard a whisper that McLaren’s Ron Dennis may come here too, his first appearance at a Grand Prix since April. Daimler’s largest shareholder is Aabar, the Abu Dhabi investment vehicle and they are central to the strategy for Mercedes taking a holding in Brawn.

There is some suggestion that Rosberg may have saddled himself to Mercedes and is waiting to be told which team he will drive for, but I suspect he and his father have a bit more control over the situation than that. Rosberg Sr is a shrewd operator and although McLaren and Brawn are both good options, he would want more say over it. Also it’s hard to see Rosberg alongside Hamilton at McLaren as he was always beaten by him in the past and that really is Hamilton’s team now.

Meanwhile Jenson Button confirmed this afternoon that he has started discussions with Brawn about a new contract, but said that he wanted to sit down seriously after this weekend to focus on the future. I sense that as much as money, the duration of the contract could be a key point. He would like a long contract, I imagine, especially bearing in mind that Sebastian Vettel is contracted to Red Bull until the end of 2011 and may well be a Mercedes target for 2012, if they are running their own team by then.

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65 Comments
  1. Adrian (not Sutil..!!) says:

    James, I read on another site that discussions for McLaren to split from Merc over the winter are well advanced with Ron Dennis having made an offer for the 40% share. This would allow Merc to take a direct share in Brawn straight away with Rosberg landing there alongside Button.

    Have you heard anything on this?

    Also, there appears to be something up with your site. If I view it in Internet Explorer the top story is “Get your copy of the JA on F1 review of the 2009 season” even if I do a full refresh and non of my comments seem to go anywhere…whereas if I view it in Google Chrome (as I am at the moment) it seems to work fine…

    1. madhu says:

      you need to delete your cache(browsing history), it shows up fine after that!

    2. Graeme says:

      Hi James

      Also have issues with Firefox, I went days thinking you quit blogging, allowing comments. I had this from both my mobile and Laptop. Also tried multiple connections, DSL, Wifi Hot Spot and 3G. Also had issue with RSS feed not updating. Something seems to be up with the cookies or something. I eventually cleared all my caches/cookies and seem to be able to read your site again. Which is awesome and await my signed copies of your book!

      Lets hope for a weekend of racing!

      1. James Allen says:

        Yes I found that it is okay if I delete the cache.

    3. Pete says:

      There’s deffo something very odd going on with the site…when I view it, I get the Abu Dhabi video post from 24th October – but when I view it on my mobile, I get all the posts!

      Also James, what news on the mock-iphone plugin which means each post has to be viewed as a separate page? Time consuming or what! Will it go?

      I highly rate the site though, so thanks James :)

    4. Thomas says:

      Hi James,

      The McLaren / Mercedes split is the great untold story of the year; hardly any of the specialist press have picked up on it…

      The McLaren road car program seems to be the catalyst to the split, driven by Ron Dennis’ desire to see McLaren as a stand alone engine/car maker (Dennis’ coup de gras before he retires).

      Could this weekend possibly mark the last McLaren Mercedes race?

      Will we see McLaren orange next year?

      Is this the issue that is delaying Raikkonen from signing?

      What is Hamilton making of all this??

      Too many questions, but there is a great story lurking in there waiting to come out. Keep us posted!!

    5. Martin Collyer says:

      I have been finding something similar to Adrian, I was stuck at “Get your copy …” for two or three days. Comments were not appearing either, haven’t tried Google Chrome though.

    6. Silverstoned says:

      James, I’ve had similar access difficulties lately with IE …

      1. James Allen says:

        Just delete cache. The server is doing its best but we’ve been a bit more popular than we expected when we switched to it in July. But we are on the case and will be switching to a new one soon. Apologies for the problems.

    7. Mario says:

      Yup! I had similar top story problems. There seem to be some technical glitches on this site quite often. May be it is worth considering a change of server.

    8. Wallers says:

      See I heard yesterday from a friend who has a friend that works around F1 that Rosberg was going to Mclaren. Which flies in the face of popular conjecture.

      I noticed a similar problem with caching the other day, I was stuck with old stories in Opera, but it was fine in Chrome.

    9. craig says:

      Try using CTRL+F5 it should force the browser to do a hard-refresh ensuring that it does not load any cached files. If that fails try clearing the browser cache ;)

    10. You’re obviously not Sutil, else I would have complained that you didn’t see this post coming up on the outside and crashed into it on purpose!

      On a more serious note, I have also had a few instances of this site’s ‘revisit-after’ property confusing my various different browsers. I found a quick dump of temporary internet files fixed it.

    11. Pay The Piper says:

      It is not so much the cache, you need to look in your Temporary Internet Files, find and then delete the http://www.jamesallenonf1.com cookie.

      (You can use the option to delete all cookies, but that is a bit drastic, better to just find the specific one and delete it)

      Had the same problem for a week with both IE and Chrome, no amount of f5, Ctrl f5, delete cache would fix it, deleted the cookie and that fixed it.

  2. niceguyrichy says:

    “They are in the throws of negotiating their way into a controlling interest at Brawn, ”

    -that should be ‘throes’ james :D

    i saw today that the drivers’ retainers for the season have been published. is anyone in the paddock seriously gonna get anywhere close to the kinda money Kimi will obviously be expecting considering how much Ferrari are chucking at him ???
    and what chance Jenson’s head will be turned by the prospect of proper BIG money elsewhere ? (were offers forthcoming, naturally)

  3. madhu says:

    Hey James,

    How about kimi going to Mclaren. He now himself has told that Mclaren is the only option. HOw does he come into the picture now?

    Some people suggest that he has already signed a contract but they are not letting it out because ferrari and mclaren are fighting for the 3rd place and Kimi being the only driver scoring points foer Ferrari, they do not want to let it out!!

    Anything you have heard?

    Also its been said that, Ferrari are going to pay him 50 million if he does not driver next year and 20 million only if he drives. Can this kind of arrangement be made at all??

    1. James Allen says:

      Some say he’s definitely going to McLaren, some say he might pack in F1. I’ll try to get to the botom of it this weekend.

  4. john g says:

    i found it quite strange that nico said that he couldn’t say for sure where he was going but (for sure) he would not be with williams. he says all teh stuff about being with the team for 3-4 years and the mutual respect, then in the next breath basically says that he can’t wait to get out of there!
    what’s the point of such a press release until he can actually confirm where he is going? as an aside, i thought it quite interesting that he was 4th highest paid driver, behind kimi, massa, and alonso. williams obviously really wanted to keep him from going to mclaren before…!

    as for whether he goes to mclaren or brawn, am i the only one that thinks that there is so much up in the air, that i don’t really care at the moment? as mentioned tho, i can’t see him going alongside lewis. i think it’ll either be kimi (assuming he lowers his demands) or nick.

  5. Sam White says:

    just to quickly agree with the above user Adrian, there is definitely something wrong with the website. It hasn’t been loading properly for me for the last week. I’m a safari user and the exact same thing has happened to me

    I’m hoping that the driver market will eventually be settled – Kimi seemed to suggest today that he would be McLaren bound

  6. John Snow says:

    James have you heard anything about McLaren buying the BMW F1 engines division?

    Would make McLaren independent of a manufacturer, probably quite cheap at the moment, brownie points with the FIA for bringing another supplier to the grid and they can develop outside the engine freeze rules

    1. James Allen says:

      McLaren say that is complete rubbish. They will be using Mercedes engines for a while to come yet, even if they not longer are the works team after 2011.

  7. Any suggestions as to what happens to McLaren? Wil MErcedes pull their engine supply? Surely McLaren wouldnt be happy being a buyer of engines – will their new “supercar” division make its own engines with Mclaren eventually become a team designin chassis and engine and take the fight to Ferarri?

  8. Michael S says:

    I think Kimi to McLaren is all but done… No way he says it is Macca or bust if he thinks it is bust. Therefore, as James said Nico to Brawn makes more sense. Nico does not want to race against Lewis.

  9. Noelinho says:

    Ooh, I hadn’t thought that Jenson would be concerned with the length of contract, but I guess it makes sense. So I’m guessing he’s been offered 2 years, but he’s really after 3 years?

  10. David says:

    Hi James as always a very insightful article on the continuing intrigue of the 2010 driver market.

    By the way, its “throes of” not “throws of”. Quite a different meaning – a “throw” is a blanket you put on a sofa! Sorry to be picky…

    Keep up the great work – your site is one of the best places where I can get the inside track on this massively competitive, sometimes glamorous / sometimes seedy, extraordinary, byzantine, and occasionally insane world that is F1!

    Looking forward to the last race of the season – what a track – and still several matters still to be resolved in the race, too.

    Cheers David.

  11. Finn says:

    I get he same probs when viewing via FF, Safari or IE on PCs and Macs. Lots of my comments don’t show either.

  12. Carl M says:

    Nico Rosberg looks certain to join Brawn GP next season with Jenson Button. That will be a young and experienced line up with backing from Mercedes, Brawn is in good shape for many years to come.

    Kimi said earlier that Mclaren is his only chance in f1 next season. I just hope they take him! Otherwise I don’t think he will race in f1 next season. Kimi and Lewis in the same team would work brilliantly.

    I will be ordering a copy of your new book James. Your last book on Michael Schumacher was excellent and I look forward to reading this one. Keep up the good work.

  13. john says:

    I don´t agree with all this magnifying of Jenson Button for the outcome of this season.
    Somebody even starting comparisons with Michael Schumacher.
    When Schumacher had a dominant season with a perfect car,he won 13 races and not just 6,and also he was prevented a win in Monaco by Montoya who crashed against him under the safety car when he was leading the race.

    1. Martin P says:

      But Jenson didn’t have dominant season with a perfect car. He had an unusually competitive field and an unpredictable car that struggled with tyres on different circuits.

      Also, unlike Schumacher, he had a team mate who was allowed to race against him.

      Seems like a stonking drive to me.

  14. Vinod says:

    James, Reading between the lines I get the feeling that there must be some discontent on the Merc side for them to consider winding down their partnership with McLaren. Merc stood by their partner through the extremes over the last 2 years and now they seem to have good stability with Mr.Whitmarsh at the helm. I wonder what is going on!

  15. Malcom says:

    James, If Kimi doesn’t sign with Mclaren, what are the chances of Mclaren signing Nick Heidfeld, and would Mclaren give consideration to Paul Di Resta?
    I also have a question that is off topic, in which I can’t get an answer. James, next year will the 2 types of tire use during a race be enforced, which would require the teams to still make a pit stop?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes that is still in the rules and they will have to make pit stops for tyres

  16. harpo says:

    “it’s hard to see Rosberg alongside Hamilton at McLaren as he was always beaten by him in the past”

    Not true! The only time they raced in cars before F1 was in 2004 in the F3 Euroseries and Nico finished ahead of Lewis in the points. Teh following year both became Champions in their respective categories (Lewis in F3, Nico in GP2) Do your fact checking before publishing, it’s not hard.

    I even think this might be the second time I see you do this mistake here, could be wrong on that though. But it’s a mistake people do quite a lot I’ve noticed. It’s very simple to avoid this mistake – just go check the results before writing about them.

    1. Jordan says:

      Thats rigth.

  17. PaulL says:

    Hamilton’s team.. pah. I remeber at the end of 2007 he said that Alonso showed him how not to behave and that “we are a team, it should be equal”.
    Let me bet that he’s not going to like it if Kimi comes and receives equal support now in “his” team.

    1. Tom Johnson says:

      In 2007 he was absolutely right: Alonso’s behaviour was not worthy of a champion, blackmail paranoia insecurity, all signs that despite Alonso’s obvious gifts he remains at heart a mean spirited squalid introvert. Hamilton on the other hand is naturally open sunny disposition and a generous spirit even though he’s quite vacuous intellectually and has never said anything that is remotely interesting.
      Hamilton has never been unfairly favoured and has no reason to fear Riakkonen. If the team is his, it is only because of performance and it’s about time that you and others recognized prodigious talent if you’re not to look increasingly silly.

      1. PaulL says:

        Nah I think the whole Hamilton playing the “team game” was a bit of a myth. He played the team into his hands but remember the two instances – Monaco and Hungary – he quite unfairly criticised the team when the team didn’t do exactly what HE wanted. And that was the conditionality of his him being loyal to the team.

        Alonso may not have gone about things the best way at times, but he seemed to take an honest approach the whole time where he felt he was joining the team to win the world championship (he could have stayed at his championship winning home at Renault but CHOSE to leave them to win at McLaren who hadn’t won for 7 years).

      2. PaulL says:

        And by “honest approach” I mean not appearing to do one thing whilst unilaterally doing another.
        Blackmailing Dennis over the emails, if that indeed happened, is not a valid approach, but he said what he was going to do and he was honest with the public about what his expectations were.

        David Coulthard, to illustrate, said he “admired” Alonso not changing his approach in his ITV column just because the English speaking media were all like “how dare you do anything to our golden boy Lewis”.
        Lewis seemed to be talking up equality, yet at least in terms of loyalties (if not things like the tyre pressures in quali) were all towards Hamilton as evidenced by Dennis’ “we (the team) weren’t racing Kimi, we were racing Alonso”.

      3. Tom Johnson says:

        If you want a villain look no further than Alonso’s and Mclaren’s management. Alonso’s manager was woeful in negotiating a contract and Mclaren were as bad in not making it crystal clear as to the contracts terms and conditions.
        In my view Alonso deserved much more respect than he got from Mclaren as reigning world champion, bringing the guy into the garage to win a championship and then making him fight it out with a rookie was ridiculous, but why didn’t his management iron this out in negotiations?
        Hamilton was better than both sides thought, he was even better than he thought, and because Mclaren/Alonso hadn’t been specific enough as to their respective roles chaos ensued. But the point is none of this was Hamilton’s fault, even Hungary debacle makes sense when you listen to Hamilton’s explanation.
        As for Alonso’s tyre pressures and the Bahrain lighting gantry and the Spanish scrutineer in Brazil, just examples of the paranoia I spoke of earlier.

  18. Mario says:

    Seems like nationality helps a lot in F1. If you are German or English or Italian then some hurdles are cleared for you just for that. On the other side if you are a Pole or even Fin or even Brazilian nowadays you might be up for some struggle. That is my impression from the driver market stories reading, especially McLaren and Brawn, and Ferrari. Strange, I thought that nationality is becoming less of a factor in this modern global village world.

    1. Tom Johnson says:

      Utter nonsense. Hurdles are not cleared for anyone in the top drives its talent plain and simple.

      Now if you said hurdles are cleared for Japanese drivers on the second rung you might have a point and let’s not forget the sons of WDCs.

      1. Mario says:

        I said what I said because it is clear to me, at least to some degree, that drivers of certain nationality are allocated to certain seats on the basis of the the marketability and commercial value of such a move.
        Take Rosberg for example. Is he really a talent? Hard to say.
        I am not saying it is a rule. You absolutely right making a point about the talent. But there are some cases.

      2. Tom Johnson says:

        Rosberg is highly rated by most in the paddock as far as I know, especially FW and PH.
        Who are these drivers selected for nationality rather than talent. Name names. (I’ll give you Nakijima).

  19. DK says:

    I hope Kimi can conclude a deal with McLaren in the next few days hence complete the 2010 drivers line-up for the major teams. An announcement right after Abu Dhabi weekend will be nice.

    I do think the late decision from McLaren and Kimi has more to do with the on going fight for third placing in WCC between McLaren and Ferrari. Being professional, it is better for both parties to stay focus and keep a low profile on this. All the talks of Kimi’s demand on high wages and Toyota could well be noise and smoke screen, though I also believe retirement from F1 is a real possibility.I just hope he stays.

  20. Chris says:

    I still don’t believe that Rosberg would pass on Mclaren because Hamilton beat him in the past. That was not F1, it shouldn’t matter. Piquet Jnr was quite close to Hamilton in GP2 (and arguably showed better out-and-out pace), yet we know what happened as soon as he got to F1.

    If it’s Hamilton’s team then Mclaren will never win another constructor’s title, as they will just put some muppet in the 2nd car. That’s not really the way to do things.

    1. Tom Johnson says:

      Who really cares about the ‘constructor’s title’ I don’t and I bet you don’t either. After all its just marketing both titles are the same thing really. The extra cash is more than made up in the team profile and marketing opportunities available with a WDC on your books.
      The last thing Mclaren need is Riakkonen getting in the way of Hamilton’s pursuit of another title, it’s not that he’d be faster but he’d be fast enough to distract the garage’s attention on putting almost all their focus on getting Hamilton to the winning post.
      Raikkonen would be best to take the year out and go rallying, get drunk or whatever.

  21. Andy Fov says:

    Vague on *what* team?

    You’ve not got Mark Blundell doing a bit of ghost-writing for you, have you James? ;)

  22. Jim, Belfast says:

    Id say under normal circumstances id opt for Mclaren and pit my wits against Lewis.

    But i dont know what engine Mclaren will have next year, and we know Brawn will have a Merc so maybe they are more stable?

    James, if you were Rosberg what would your preference be?

    1. James Allen says:

      Brawn every time – I think he’d struggle more against Hamilton, based on their past together

      1. bleh says:

        Which past? I know Hamilton won the karting championship in 2000 ahead of Rosberg but I can’t find any other examples of Hamilton ahead of Rosberg.

        That said I can’t imagine any top driver going to McLaren with the possible exception of Kimi. McLaren’s lineup’s always gonna be Lewis Hamilton and “the other guy” with Lewis being the more equal of the equals (nothing wrong with that if they were just a bit more honest about it).

      2. Jordan says:

        Had you ever check your data before you post? Rosberg finished ahead of Hamilton in F3, so I think you are talking about Karts, right?

  23. Silverstoned says:

    James, can I ask if you write the whole of the ITV F1 site?

    1. James Allen says:

      No just the bylined parts

  24. jose says:

    It seems that rosberg jr, listens to his father a little more than piquet. This shows that he is smarter. He wouldn’t go to mclaren, he would be destroyed there by hamilton. Against button, he’s got a better chance. Even though i think he is not even a match for jenson, when the british drives without title type pressure, like in the first half of this season.

  25. Back on topic – I’m a big Rosberg fan and look forward to him (hopefully) driving the Brawn but I really do think Williams are being overlooked in general as a sound team for next year. Mind I’ve been wrong about this kind of thing before…

    Much has been made of the Cosworth decision being strange, but I don’t think it is. They have previous experience of it, it was one of the best units during ’06 and the FIA have allowed some wiggle room for Cosworth to update it.

    The reliability problems suffered by Williams that year were mostly due to issues with the installation, rather than the engine itself.

    Provided they have the funds, I can see Williams doing well next year. As long as they don’t “do a Williams” and shoot themselves in the foot, that is.

  26. OL says:

    Autosport have an interview with Frank Williams up. Within it, he says “There are a few things going on at Williams for next season, with our engines, so we thought we can do better. Nico is German and Mercedes need at least one German driver to sit before their engine.” Read that as you will.

  27. VV says:

    Sir Frank Williams has let the cat out of the bag somewhat. From Autosport:

    “Nico is German and Mercedes need at least one German driver to sit before their engine.”

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/79835

  28. Mr G says:

    Hi everyone,
    here below a list of salaries from this year F1 drivers, in dollars

    1. Kimi Raikkonen $45m
    2. Lewis Hamilton $18m
    3. Fernando Alonso $15m
    4. Nico Rosberg $8.5m
    5. Felipe Massa $8m
    6. Jarno Trulli $6.5m
    7. Sebastian Vettel $6m
    8. Mark Webber $5.5m
    9. Jenson Button $5m
    10. Robert Kubica $4.5m
    11. Heikki Kovalainen $3.5m
    12. Nick Heidfeld $2.8m
    13. Timo Glock $2m
    14. Giancarlo Fisichella $1.5m
    15. Sébastien Buemi $1.5m
    16. Rubens Barrichello $1m
    17. Jaime Alguersuari $0.5m
    18. Vitantonio Liuzzi $Nil
    19. Adrian Sutil $Nil
    20. Romain Grosjean $Nil
    21. Kazuki Nakajima $Nil

    As you can see, there are a lot of drivers in F1 doing a very ricky job for very little and I think the big salaries have been negotiated before the cost cutting measures and the credit crunch.

    This year lack of imformation about next year F1 drivers line up is certainly to do with the negotiations that Team Principal are carrying out.

    Only if some Team Principal will bvreak the mold and offer a lot of money, we will see a very long struggle from the drivers to secure the seat in F1 that they want.
    This year F1 season has put the Team Principals in the driving seat, (sorry about the punt couldn’t resist) and drivers will need to understand that having a winning car is more important than a big salary.
    Trulli outbust with Sutil give me an indication that the average driver in years to come will get paid a reasonable amount but not the huge sums that we saw in the last decade.
    Top drivers will be able to ask for a good salary but ultimately they will not be able to exploit the teams anymore.
    Moreover, drivers, if managed properly, can add personal sponsors and endorsements to boost their income and, frankly, I don’t think they will be short of cash, most of them live in Monaco therefore paying little tax.

    Rosberg at Mercedes could be a good move for them but I think if Mercedes will take a stake in Brawns they shoul;d try to sign LH as soon as possible, he is a fantastic driver and a dream for sponsors and the media.
    In 2012 we could see JB and LH on a Brawn backed by Mercedes, what do you think James?

    1. James Allen says:

      They are interested in Vettel too

    2. Billy says:

      Massa is so underpaid.

    3. Silverstoned says:

      One Hamilton+ one Alonso+one Massa+ one Fisi = one Kimi

  29. Lex says:

    Sorry James, as this question is not really linked to the article.

    German press is reporting that Ferrari have extended Massa’s Contract for 2 years???

  30. Owen says:

    Thanks James,
    In my view the McLaren Mercedes divorce / Brawn GP courtship has not been given enough exposure;understandably there’s been a few other interesting stories this yr!

    How did this story develop over the season and what are the factors that have contributed to it? Would certainly appreciate an upcoming article on this!

  31. Attila Takos says:

    What do you think guys, will Jenson stay at BrawnGP next season?? :DD A Davidson-Rosberg duo sound perfectly :P :D And it’s not unlikely now.

  32. Tejas says:

    James,

    why wouldn’t kimi consider brawn?

    his criteria is to be in a winning car – which brawn might be able to provide next year as well?

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