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Rosberg commits to Mercedes
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Nov 2011   |  8:27 am GMT  |  98 comments

Nico Rosberg has extended his contract with Mercedes, for a period that will take him into his 30s. It puts to an end all suggestions that he may join Ferrari as replacement to Felipe Massa any time soon.

Rosberg was already under contract for 2012, but the new deal adds a “multi-year” term to that, likely to be three years from 2013 onwards with options. Mercedes statement claims that the 26 year old has demonstrated that “he belongs to the top group of drivers currently racing in Formula One.”

Meanwhile Rosberg himself confidently asserts that “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.”

Operationally Mercedes have been pretty slick this year, with the joint fastest pit stops and good strategies, working around the weakness of the car at using up its tyres.

But with the limitations of the car in race conditions, Rosberg has only managed twice this year to finish ahead of his starting position. Nine times he’s qualified strongly then finished lower.

The team based in Brackley, which has passed through various identities, has always struggled to consistently build a winning car. The exception was the Brawn car of 2009, which was the product of immense investment and development by Honda and a clever loophole with the double diffuser.

This will be the key to whether Rosberg can show he genuinely belongs at F1′s top table. Although his qualifying pace is certainly of a calibre to make him a contender, he has recently fallen behind Michael Schumacher in race performances and Mercedes will want to see him get back on top of his older team mate next season.

Ross Brawn clearly thinks he has it in him, “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, ” said the celebrated team boss.

There have been suggestions in the German media that Schumacher has also extended his deal into 2013. I think that there is a good chance he will make it a four year comeback programme, but talking to his manager Sabine Kehm in Delhi, I got the impression they would wait into next year before committing. He will definitely stay with Mercedes as an ambassador, either way.

That said Schumacher is really enjoying himself now, after a difficult first 18 months of his comeback. He has his confidence back and, like Rosberg, just wants a competitive car with which to challenge.

Timing wise it was desirable for Mercedes to announce the Rosberg deal now, as this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi is the home event for Aabar, a significant shareholder in the team and in parent company Daimler.

The Ferrari consideration is not one that will bother Mercedes now, but it is significant that two of the drivers who Ferrari considered to partner Fernando Alonso, Rosberg and Button, have now committed themselves long term at their current teams. With Ferrari’s first choice Robert Kubica in uncertain condition the Scuderia has a headache with an underperforming Massa and no potent replacements. Sergio Perez has been mentioned but he is still too young and inexperienced to get a Ferrari opportunity.

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98 Comments
  1. Davexxx says:

    I now start to get a bit blase about stories saying “XXX Driver is now committed to y more years with ZZZ team” when at the same time hearing so often that “Contracts can be broken” so if the right opportunity comes along they can still jump ship, it seems.
    I’m curious (as I’m sure are many people) just what Driver’s Contracts actually look like these days. I wonder how a Team DOES manage to tie a driver down to stay with them – while at the same time of course having the flexibility to get rid of him if someone better becomes available!

    1. Luca says:

      you’ve got to really want a driver if they are under contract, as either the driver or the new team will have to pay through the nose to get the current team to let go of the driver…. look at the mess Button got himself into years ago between Williams and Honda. Or how Ferrari had to pay off Kimi to bring Fernando over earlier….

      Its business at the end of the day, so no one is going to want to loose out – driver, new team or old team – so the contracts will be full of catches, loop holes and options.

      So yes contracts can be broken, but the desire of change needs to be very large in deed (or pot of money very large, I should say). And if the driver is winning and has a winning car, then why break a contract early..

      1. Liam in Sydney says:

        As long as the driver that a team is going to boot out early is paid for the season they miss out on, what would be the problem? The driver could hardly point to that arrangement and somehow convince anyone he was at a ‘loss’ because of that action? Seems pretty straight to me.

    2. wayne says:

      Am I the omnly one who wonders what all the fuss is over Rosberg? Obviously Merc have a universe of data about his ability and I have very little but I do not see anything particularly special beyond that which is special about all the drivers in F1. In the race itself he just seems to dissapear and fade away generally speaking.

  2. Merlinghnd says:

    Interesting that on the face of it nobody wants to partner Alonso, they would prefer to have a Hamilton or a Schumacher instead.

    I think winning a WDC is the prime goal of a top F1 driver, do Rosberg and Button think this is more likely with Mercedes and McLaren and what does that say about Ferrari.

    Is this a direct consequence of Ferrari imposing team orders in the past and therefore Rosberg is under no doubt that he is free to race Schumacher in the same manner that Hamilton and Button have.

    I am sure Massa must be very pleased when he heard this news.

    1. madmax says:

      Think rather than preferring a Hamilton or Schmacher instead they would prefer a team that doesn’t seem to be going backwards.

    2. Sam says:

      I think Button has built up a very good relationship with the Mclaren team, and he sees no reason to break this. Same with Rosberg and the Mercedes team.

      I don’t think it’s an issue of team orders (I know people always love to bring this up at any opportunity when talking about Ferrari), though I imagine it would be more difficult to win over the Ferrari team considering Alonso has been there for a couple of years and already built a very strong rapport with them and is of course very quick.

      1. Frank says:

        Button has very cleverly got himself a car that suits his very smooth driving style, which might go some way to explaining Hamilton’s lack of form.
        I reckon Alonso doesn’t mind one bit that Massa’s not competing for the same positions as him, keeping him there until another prodigy (like Seb, Lewis) comes onto the scene in a few years time.

    3. APASUNOC says:

      It’s quite simple. If Mercedes have the best car, then Rosberg wins the WDC. If Ferrari do then he has to beat Alonso, win the team over from Alonso and win the WDC.

      Obviously he thinks he can more given the changes happening at Mercedes-Benz than going over and competing with Alonso

      1. For Sure says:

        I thought he is struggling to beat his teammate lately.

      2. Aaron95 says:

        Schumacher has been getting some good results recently, but I wouldn’t say he has the edge on Rosberg. Also Rosberg knows they care free to race so he at least has a fighting chance of going for the title if Mercedes make a competitive car. At Ferrari that is unlikely to be the case.

      3. C-M says:

        I’m not sure about that. Schumacher is faster in the races than Rosberg. It’s in qualifying that Rosberg shines.

        It could go eitherway

    4. gond says:

      Why are you so sure that Rosberg has said no to Ferrari? Do you know if he was ever asked to join them?

      1. Davexxx says:

        (a) The APASUNOC’s point above sums it up nicely.
        (b) Rosberg has said ‘No’ to Ferrari indirectly by signing to stay at Mercedes. But I’m sure he was on their radar, they have all ‘talked to each other’, and may continue to do so!

    5. Button improved his reputation immensely this year and we have yet to see a Hamilton comeback. From what I read, he as been able to really get the team behind him. I think he is in the perfect team from him at this point in his career. There is no point for him to try to measure himself against Alonso.

      As for Rosberg, he has outperformed the most successful driver in F1 history for the last 2 years. Just like Button, his highly rated team makes him look good. Mercedes is between the top and midfield team at the moment but with Ross Brawn running the show, they will surely be able to race with the big boys soon. Why risk it all against Alonso?

      I think that most drivers(except Vettel?) are more afraid of being outperformed by Alonso then team orders. I know Ferrari, under Todt, did some disgusting things with team orders but under Domenicali things are different. I know that the BBC team his unable to say the word Ferrari without adding “team order” in the same sentence but lets be honest, Ferrari used team order only once since Alonso joined the team. Like Alonso famously said: this is ridiculous!

      1. Mingojo says:

        At last a sensible comment. Well said!!!

      2. C-M says:

        If drivers are scared of team orders, then they should be faster. It’s pretty simply.

    6. JohnBt says:

      For Alonso, I’ve always enjoyed and liked his driving capabilities but not his persona. Don’t blame fans for their criticisms. So any driver who dreams of Ferrari must be able to accept number two status as long as Nando is there.

  3. Forlorn says:

    Great article James. Informative as ever!

  4. DanielS says:

    Poor move for Mercedes. Schumacher has been the race day driver for them this year – he’s behind in points because of a dodgy opening to the season and a couple of recent accidents (the Petrov one being 100% the other guy’s fault). If Mercedes build a contender nrct year there’s only one man who will use it to challenge and it’s not Rosberg.

    1. ian says:

      But how does re signing Rosberg add up to a ‘bad move’?
      If what you say about Schumacher is correct, are you simply stating that if even HE can beat Rosberg then Rosberg must be no good? Or if – as i assume – you think Schumacher is a great driver still, then surely Rosberg must be a pretty good team mate for him.

    2. Liam says:

      That’s a pretty blinkered view. Schumacher has been finishing ahead of Rosberg because he’s not got to Q3 and so saved some tyres then had brilliant starts (faster car than those around him) to get close to Rosberg then used the fresher rubber to pass him mostly through the pitstop phases.

      Schumi and Rosberg are very close on race pace but Rosberg is a much better qualifier under the current regs.

      1. Liam in Sydney says:

        There is nothing stopping Rosberg from sitting out Q3. If Schumi is beating him in races, Rosberg and his side of the garage need to have a more creative look at their race strategies.

      2. JohnBt says:

        FIA must change the quali rules for next year. Q3, the most important segment of quali has been disappointing as quite a few teams decided to save tyres. And it feels like a quiet practices session.

        How bout bringing back quali tyres.

  5. Frank says:

    Surely Mercedes can recreate some of their 2009 success next year? I so want to see a genuine Ferrari vs Red Bull vs McLaren vs Mercedes where Merc are really fighting for the top places. I can’t imagine they have any lack of funding from Mercedes, and with Ross on board they’ve got no lack of expertise.

    1. Tealeaf says:

      But they haven’t got the drivers, Rosberg obviously just isn’t good enough and Schumi is too old now, for example a driver like Webber, he was faster than Rosberg and he’s in a top car but couldn’t win even 1 race this year, Mercedes needs 1 of the big 4 (Vettel, Alonso, Button, Hamilton).

      1. Frank says:

        Oh I thing Rosberg’s up to it – sure, he can’t carve his way up the grid like others can, but with a quick car I can see him winning races. What with DRS, and the Merc’s straighline speed I can see the car taking him to victories, even if it is that way round. And as for Schumi, I reckon he’s got it in him maybe for one season still.

      2. madmax says:

        Nico was just 20 years old and in his debut season when he was beat by Webber.

        Vettel and Button’s team-mates struggles this year are making them two look a lot better than they otherwise would have.

      3. Tealeaf says:

        Well Rosberg was 21 for most of the season and also the sane age as when Vettel won Monza in a Torro Rosso, also the same age as Vettel when he beat Webber in 2009, all things Nico couldn’t do, please do not put Rosberg in the same league as Vettel because he’s not even close.

      4. madmax says:

        I think you will find Rosberg was 20 for half the races not that it means much! More importantly it was his debut year. Do you think Vettel could have came to Webber’s team and beat him in his debut year? Who set the fastest lap in his very first grand prix in the 8th best car?

        Rosberg looks not to be in the same league as Vettel because he has not had anything approaching a decent car unlike Vettel who has sat in the best car with the whole team centered on him the past 2 years.

      5. ElJureo says:

        Luckily they have one greater then all 4 combined. Michael Schumacher. All 4 of them need to win one more to match him in WDC’s. Rosberg is right on top and at times better and faster than MSC, so how is that bad?

      6. Frank says:

        Much as I would love to agree with you, one has to realise that most F1 drivers are under 30 for a reason.

  6. goferet says:

    To win in a Silver Arrow will be
    one of the highlights of my life so far
    ———————————————–

    It’s quite obvious to the trained eye that Rosberg is living in the clouds for he will be lucky if Mercedes F1 Team still exists long enough to give him a winning car let alone one that’s good enough to win a race on merit.

    Oh well, his career is going down the root of all sons of former WDC & that’s in mediocrity bar the rare podium here and there plus there’s the added curse of very few drivers being able to win in their national team – Just look at Lewis Hamilton’s struggles

    But what’s telling is the fact that nobody with any title aspirations wants the Ferrari seat either no self respecting driver wants to be Alonso’s doormat or no driver believes the Red Dragon will awake from it’s slumber anytime soon.

    Okay, the prospect of Schumi even thinking of extending his contract is astonishing, meh, he must be really bored at home. I mean, when will he get the picture that Jenson Brawn car is gone for good – Duh, the double diffusers were outlawed.

    1. coefficent says:

      Ahh, The Double Diffuser thing again, such a yawn!! It’s totally irrelevant to this years cars. Anyway, the blown diffuser is more powerful according to reports.

      I think you’ll be disappointed next year because Mercedes are going to turn a corner imho.

    2. Hesketh Bear says:

      Quite right, what did Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve ever win except a few mediocre podiums here and there?

      Ross Brawn has a bit more than 2009 on his CV, and have you seen how many people Mercedes have recruited recently? They don’t look like a team which will be packing F1 in any time soon.

      I guess Rosberg reckons that in a couple of years he will be undisputed no.1 in a very good team. Good luck to him, I say.

      1. Andy c says:

        I think you forget how good Damon hill was. Had Schumacher not taken them out in oz, hill would have been at least a double wdc. Had Williams not been as silly, he would have had a shot at it the year jacques won it.

        So don’t go passing Damon off as if he was a flash in the pan.

        Neither got another car in the same league as their title winning Williams.

        Jenson recognised the move to mclaren was z great opp. Damon turned down mclaren on the basis his base salary was too weighted towards performance. Really poor move.

    3. Tank says:

      Not that I was a fan of either, but Hill and Villeneuve Jrs. were both world champions.. and sons of greats.

    4. Bob says:

      “Obvious to the trained eye . . .”

      heh heh, should have gone to Specsavers mate!

  7. Tank says:

    Interesting… A day after German media reports of Schumacher’s alleged extension. Does some media just make up stories to sell publications?

    1. Grayzee (Australia) says:

      “Does some media just make up stories to sell publications?”

      Duh….they wouldn’t do that, would they? I mean, they would never let a good story get in the way of the truth, surely!

      Of course they make up stories….if they claim that a story is from a “source close to person X”, you can bet it’s a porkie!

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      Yes, they’re called tabloids.

  8. ian says:

    I like Nico, but he seems – as at Williams – to often fade in the races – India was a classic case.

    1. Liam says:

      That’s not really true… Nico used to be one of the drivers that always gained positions in a race. It’s only now he has a car with worse race pace than qualifying pace that he’s started going backwards!

    2. Phil R says:

      I have to agree with Ian on this one. In the middle of his final season Patrick Head said they were getting into “Boutsen and Patrese” territory. I really like Nico, but I do think he can be a bit variable at times….

  9. Giles says:

    Ferrari should have gone with Webber for next year. He would have brought Red Bull knowledge with him and proved to be consistent ehich is what they need. He also gets along well with Alonso which would have helped.

    1. JimmiC says:

      He’s clearly a number two at Red Bull. Why move to be number two at Ferrari, especially when the Ferrari is slower. At least, at RBR, he has a ghost of a chance should Vettel suffer a retirement.

      1. Liam in Sydney says:

        Giles is not commenting on what Mark wants, but what Ferrari should have wanted, and paid extra for that accordingly.

        They need better car speed, better design, and Mark would have rolled in there and given design background for the RB7. It would have helped greatly for 2012. And as Giles also says, FA and Mark get on okay.

        I’m not saying Mark should have signed for Ferrai – indeed he would be a mug to leave the current fastest team.

    2. Phil R says:

      There are more Ferrari’s to sell in Brazil than Australia… I think Ferrari are waiting for the next driver they can build up in the way they did with Irvine/Massa, a solid number 2 to Shuey or Raikonnen, but capable of taking on a championship challenge if required.

  10. KC’s blue sky prediction of the week: Nico Hulkenberg to Ferrari for 2012, Massa pensioned off to front an as-yet unannounced LMP1 project.

    Ferrari clearly aren’t just looking for a solid driver who’ll bring the car home and score solid points: Massa can do that already. They’re looking for someone with the pace to support Alonso.

    I don’t see them spending millions to buy someone out of a contract and of the available drivers, most don’t have any more pace than Massa does (Sutil, for instance).

    Maybe they’ll accelerate their program to get Sergio Perez into the second seat (I think he’s still contracted to Sauber, but a discount on their engine deal will soon solve that issue) but I have a nagging feeling they may go straight for Hulkenberg, who is clearly quick and didn’t appear too prone to costly errors in his rookie season. With Paul di Resta now Mercedes’ favourite son and Hulkenberg ending his managerial relationship with Willi Weber, he’s not really Mercedes’ driver any more.

    There is one other option, of course. One other uncontracted driver who could get the most out of the second Ferrari, but dare I say it? Could Kimi Raikkonen’s much publicised talks with Williams merely be a smokescreen to get him back to Maranello?

    1. HFEVO2 says:

      “They’re looking for someone with the pace to support Alonso”.

      This is the reason why no self-respecting top driver is going to go to Ferrari and drive beside Alonso.

      Until Ferrari ditch their requirement that one of their drivers is no more than a supporting act, this will limit their choice.

      They will just have to accept a second or even third tier driver. Possibly the best they can hope for would be Webber at the end of 2012.

    2. David Ryan says:

      I think Kimi would be more likely to turn up in a HRT than return to the Ferrari team, to be honest. He just didn’t really click with them, for whatever reason, and given that the majority of the team is at it was (with the notable exception of Pat Fry of course) and the atmosphere of the team is also as it was, I can’t see much motivation for him to try again. It would certainly be interesting in that it would settle once and for all who was the quicker of the two drivers, but it doesn’t seem realistic to me. Same with Hulkenberg – moving to Ferrari in its current state could break his career (see former Ferrari number-two drivers), whereas with Force India he could build up his reputation and then graduate to a top seat. I think the main reason no one has pushed for the second Ferrari seat is that right now it isn’t a smart career move, sadly. Even Massa would be better out of it in some respects.

    3. Andy c says:

      Hulk to Ferrari. Don’t rule it out ;-)

      I fully expected nico r to go there, and Paul to replace him at mgp.

      Hulk going to Ferrari would be a great move. And he’s not that inexperienced.

      Great call kc!

  11. Rob Newman says:

    Rosberg is one of the best drivers out their. The current silver arrow does not justify his potential. If I am not mistaken, he has the record for a driver with most points without a race win.

    I have a feeling Webber will move to Ferrari in 2013.

  12. As Alonso is deemed number one ‘top dog’ Ferrari will only ever attract a second division driver making his way up the F1 ladder, it will be the kiss of death for an established race winning driver, who would never sign up as a number two from day one.

    1. Grayzee (Australia) says:

      yep! that’s why Webber wouldn’t go there.

  13. Mattij says:

    James, can you shed some light on why the secrecy about contract lenghts?

    And, was it just Martin Whitmarsh’s accidental slip on BBC interview that made it public that Jenson is in for 3 years?

    1. K says:

      I’d imagine so that rival teams cannot determine when they can try to poach their drivers away?

  14. Matt W says:

    I think Rosberg could win races given a decent enough car, but I don’t think long term he is ever going to lead a team to a championship. I think he has been flattered over the last 18 months as Schumacher has struggled to get up to speed, but now it looks like Schumacher has the race legs on him even if his qualifying is still a weakness.

    Don’t get me wrong, Rosberg is a perfectly solid driver capable of bringing home points for the team on a consistant basis. I just don’t see him having that extra little bit of ability to bring him into the top group of drivers.

    So probably a good choice for Mercedes but I get the feeling if Schumacher fails to get back to the very top they will replace Schumi in 2013 with another top star, keeping Rosberg as a quick number 2.

  15. Mitchel says:

    Slightly off-topic..

    Just finished reading the Schumacher bio “The Edge of Greatness”, by J.Allen, any plans for a follow-up?

    It’s an excellent book and there would be a lot to cover from ’06 to now!

    Regarding the existing biography, I have a query:

    1. It is mentioned that Schumi’s neck was starting to show it’s age in ’06- any chance you could have a look at F1 driver deterioration with age, to analyse how well he is doing at fighting the physical clock?

    1. K says:

      Talking of which…
      If his neck showed its age back in ’06, why is he here now? o_O

      1. C-M says:

        In India didn’t M Brundle say he popped to the gym in the evening and Michael was only one there and looking as fit as ever?

      2. K says:

        No idea, no BBC coverage in my place, just surprised that if MSC said it was his neck aging and then coming back several years later just seems weird.

  16. tim says:

    I used to think Rosberg was the next big thing. But I’ve come to see that he exists in a positive bubble thanks to the speed, or lack of this, of his car. If the car was actually fast enough to come close to winning races, he’d be judged with more scrutiny. Right now, if he’s fast and ahead of Schumacher he’s golden. Best to wait to see him in a competitive car before making a final judgment. He could either mature into a great, with focus and intelligence despite some obvious impetuousness (Button’s comment on Nico’s hyper confidence was kind of revealing) or remain on the almost-great level of all the others on the grid.

  17. Lewis Jones says:

    If Ferrari had any sense (and they don’t) they would have paired Fernando and Kimi for 2010 and they would have given Red Bull a real run for their money.
    As long as they operate a clear No1/No2 policy, the second seat is always going to be occupied by either a no-hoper like Massa or a has-been like Fisichella. Which is a waste of a seat quite frankly, they might as well run a one-car team.

    1. zombie says:

      The ‘no hoper’ almost won the title in 2008. Massa gave Kimi a run for his money in 2007/08/09 until his accident. The life threatening crash, and “Fernando is faster than you!” messages have dented Massa’s confidence. He needs a fresh start. I would prescribe him a seat at Lotus or the other Lotus/Caterham/watchamaycallit.

    2. CerinoDevoti says:

      Perhaps Ferrari should re-consider signing Happy Bubble Hamilton?

  18. Ralph says:

    Does this show a lack of ambition from Mercedes?

  19. eric weinraub says:

    Everything points to a VERY strong Mercedes in 2013. I think Mercedes will have a much better 2012 where they contend regularly with McLaren and Ferrari… I have concluded one and only one thing has kept Red Bull at the top… Testing. If you come out of the box on top, almost impossible to be caught without in season testing.

  20. Dren says:

    I thought Kubica and Rosberg were the top two drivers of 2010. This is a good move for Mercedes and Rosberg. I rate him highly and expect him to do well in the future. I just hope Mercedes can build a good car.

  21. Yoshi says:

    Hi James, have you heard any more on the potential Di Resta to Mercedes move? Are Mercedes thinking he’s Schumachers replacement?
    Thanks.

  22. zombie says:

    We need to remember 2 things here :

    a) Mercedes cannot get a better brand ambassador than Michael Schumacher. He is the most recognized name in F1,esp. in this side of the pond in good ol’ USA. Also, with 2 decades of experience, winning titles with benetton and then with Ferrari, he is notorious for his military like work regime and car development. This is a key in current F1 where testing is limited.

    b)Rosberg has consistently performed maximizing the performance of his car. Given a fast car he’ll be dicing and slicing with RBR,Ferrari and Mclarens.And he’s just 26 and rapidly maturing as a racing driver. Jenson did not hit his best until his late 20s. Rosberg is an asset for Merc,and he is non-political which tends to keep things clean.The last thing one needs is someone like Rubens,hamilton or Webber who have more than once thrown their teams under the bus!

    If Ferrari were to replace Massa for 2013,they are spoilt for choice. We are forgetting some immensely talented drivers out there : Sutil,Alguersuari and Hulkenberg are all on the sidelines waiting for a top drive. If Petrov gets the boot,and Kimi/Kubica make a comeback, it’ll be like a bunch of foxes in chicken coop! We should then have some seriously exciting lineups!

  23. Heinz D says:

    please, is it possible to say schumacher is making definite progress which we can mesure. This means he is getting better and better, but rosberg is already at his best and this is good but he cannot improove more.
    this photograph is exellent i should say.

  24. Douglas says:

    Is it the general consensus, then, that Massa is underperforming?
    He’s had some unlucky occurrences in races, that have ruined his racing stats, but I thought his race pace was not bad at all…

  25. Davexxx says:

    James, unless I’ve missed it, I’m curious about one aspect of the Mercedes story -
    Didn’t Ross Brawn say earlier in the year that he was planning on leaving (retiring) ‘soon’?? I think they might not do so well without his brilliant abilities, so wonder if a driver in the team might worry about that.

  26. KGBVD says:

    Is it not possible, given the continued uncertainty of Kubica’s comeback and Renault’s impatience, that Ferrari will stick with Massa for the time being, and replace him with Kubica once the season is underway, and once Kubica shows himself of being capable of returning (finally)?

    1. Steven says:

      WHy would Kubika even consider signing for Ferrari? Please explain the logic behind that…

      1. K says:

        Casual viewers.

  27. sam rowntree says:

    seems a pretty astute move from rosberg to me, i think Mercedes will be challenging in the next few years, and its unlikely rosberg would want a seat at ferrari while Alonso is there. I think the refreshment of the regulations might give them a chance to challenge for the wins, with new staff who will bring ideas into the team. Aldo costa’s alledged lack of ambition may well be a good thing when designing a car for these new regs as they may not depend on the EBD concept as the other teams do, allied with what i assume is a lot of funding from their parent company.

  28. David Ryan says:

    A sound decision by both, I’d say – Mercedes need a dependable, consistent driver with good technical knowledge to build the future on, and Rosberg needs a means to prove to the paddock he can develop a winning car and not just rely on what he’s given. If anything I’m surprised this wasn’t agreed sooner. As to whether he will be a contender for the championship in future years, that’s more difficult to say (personally I’m undecided), but it’s certainly put his career on a very solid footing which in F1 is no mean feat.

    I bet the Rosberg to Ferrari stories will continue in spite of this, though – plausibility never was a key factor, after all…

  29. James says:

    I think that Ferrari need to make a gamble and put Perez in the team as soon as possible, perhaps see him as a long term investment. If they sign him from 2013 he’ll have time to mature, learn the workings of the team and be able to learn from Alonso. Perez is quick, he has tallent, it just needs to be nurtured and he needs a bit of guidance.

    They’re running out of options, unless they’re going to write a MASSIVE cheque and ask Raikkonen if he fancies another chance? Unlikely, but their options are very limited here…!

  30. dave mingay says:

    It’s worth noting that Mark Webber always had Nico under control while they were at Williams.

  31. Keith says:

    Maybe a smart move on Rosberg part. Ross Brawn has a track record, with 3 different teams to producing the goods. (But it does take time in his case) So instead of playing second fiddle to Alonso at Ferrari, he could end up team leader at Mercedes when Michael does leave. I guess the question is, is he good enough or just a good second string driver that will get you a few pints and the occasional result. He is still young and has gained a fair amount of experience, which could be helpful. We don’t hear if his feedback is any good or not to the engineers, which is what Button has now.
    If Brawn and the team give him a car, then he could in theory, stack up a lot of win’s and points, and drivers want wins. They are getting close, knocking on the door a few times. It is that last major step that would put them on a winning run, and then everyone would say how good he is or not.

  32. Rishi says:

    Schumacher’s stronger performances are putting pressure on Rosberg now. At first the feeling was “Wow! Rosberg’s beating Schumacher!” and then even when we realised that Michael was not at his pre-retirement level we still thought Nico was doing an impressive job. Now it’s like “well Michael has improved, but Nico hasn’t risen his game to counter him and Michael hasn’t reached his limit either. Does that mean Nico is still a bit short of the very best in the sport?”

    The trait of qualifying better than where he finishes is also beginning to remind me a bit of Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber round the middle of the last decade. With Trulli in particular there was often a strong debate about whether Jarno did well on Saturday but for some reason struggled badly on Sunday or whether it was more the fact that he said so very well on Saturday that it was patently unrealistic to expect him to match it on Sunday, where his pace was more representative of the car’s limits. This is another question that seems to be forming for me over Rosberg.

    So I guess the conclusion is that Nico signs this deal at a time when there are some fascinating and challenging questions about him coming to the fore. He is an intelligent driver and will be aware of this and the challenge remains to hit a new level in 2012 and beyond and show that those at Mercedes were right to pick him as a winner. It should be an interesting few seasons for observers of the driver.

  33. dave_cb says:

    Webber for a 1 year plus a 1 year option at Ferrari for 2013. Perez in the Ferrari from 2014.

    Riccardo to Redbull!

    Disclaimer: I’m Australian! Really hoping to see two Aussies in competitive cars!

  34. Phil R says:

    This must be the most stable driver market in the history of F1. Other than the testing ban, any ideas why this is? Even with this, isn’t GP2 a decent training ground, they race on the same tyres which are probably the trickiest thing to master this year.

  35. Darren says:

    I think Rosberg has made a good decision. He has the full support of his current team and they would have to be favourites to join the big 3 to make it the big 4 next year and moving forward after that.

    If I ran Ferrari I would be calling Timo Glock or Adrian Sutil and giving Massa a rest. Either guy would score good points but leave Alonso untroubled. Give Perez some serious grooming in 2012 so that he’s ready to step up to Ferrari in 2013.

    1. K says:

      Er… recall 2009 Fisi replaced Massa, and instantly showed how much Raikkonen pushed the car beyond what the car could do and Fisi found the Ferrari hard to drive?

      If Massa can do exactly the same thing “would score good points but leave Alonso untroubled”, why the change?

      Not a smart move if you ran Ferrari.

      1. Darren says:

        “pushed the car beyond what the car could do and Fisi found the Ferrari hard to drive?”

        It’s a quite a different challenge to step into a car mid season rather than at the beginning.

        Unless Raikkonen has a device to change the law of physics he was getting perhaps the maximum from the car, but couldn’t go beyond it.

        Massa isn’t scoring good points at the moment which is why I would make the change. He should be running close to Alonso, but he’s not. By not troubling Alonso I mean there should be some challenge there, but Alonso has it covered when he pushes. That’s not the case at the moment with Massa.

      2. K says:

        What’s there to say Timo Glock or Adrian Sutil would do a better job?

        I’m sure the Ferrari guys know better with the stats and data they have, and would have made the move you mentioned if that’s really the case.

      3. Darren says:

        You can make that argument with every driver decision ever made. This is about sharing opinions. In my opinion, Sutil would be consistently further ahead of Massa in the same car on their current form. It is obvious that Massa is struggling and no one in Ferrari is denying that. They no doubt have their reasons for keeping him.

        I’d like to see things shaken up a little at Ferrari for 2012. I’m not asking you to agree with me.

  36. Ibrahim M says:

    James,

    Do you not think that everyone’s forgotten about Heikki. I bet He would be great in a Ferrari. He showed that he is a great Team player. He would relish a second opportunity to match himself against Alonso. And no one can deny his work ethic and that he has driven the wheels off the Lotus everytime he stepped into that cockpit.
    Surely he would be better than Sergio Perez in terms of experience and technical ability, Right?

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s doing a terrific job at rehabilitating his reputation. Not sure he’s on Ferrari’s radar though.

      1. CerinoDevoti says:

        Maybe Ron Dennis could put a good word in for Kovi. Ron always said how nice and compliant Heikki was while in the employ of Mclaren.

  37. Lynn says:

    James,

    Is there a possibilty for Kimi working with Ferrari in 2013?

    1. James Allen says:

      I would not think that very likely

    2. Andy c says:

      Maybe selling ferrari snowballs at the gates of hell (lol) :-)

  38. KRB says:

    Would love to see a championship with four competitive constructors … has that ever happened? Maybe the 1982 season, the one that Rosberg’s dad won? Of course, there were other factors that made that championship closer than it might otherwise have been.

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