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Mercedes to announce Rosberg this morning?
Mercedes to announce Rosberg this morning?
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Nov 2009   |  11:00 am GMT  |  73 comments

Mercedes are on the conference call trail again this morning. This time it is to announce what Mercedes describes as the “first new driver” for its team, which is expected to be Nico Rosberg, as he has been signed to the team for some time.

Rosberg - set for Mercedes drive (Darren Heath)

Rosberg - set for Mercedes drive (Darren Heath)

Rosberg will be in the conference call as will Norbert Haug, the vice president of Mercedes Benz motorsport and Nick Fry, who is now billed as the CEO of the Mercedes F1 team.

Haug continues to maintain that the Mercedes driver line up will ‘surprise’ and will be appealing. Over the weekend Ross Brawn told German tabloid Bild that Schumacher had “no ambitions” to return to F1. Schumacher’s camp distanced themselves from the notion of him racing for the team next season. His manager, Willi Weber, said that Schumacher had met with Dr Zetsche from Daimler and with Ross Brawn in Abi Dhabi, but there was no suggestion that the idea of him driving for the team was seriously discussed. At that time Brawn and Mercedes were still hoping that a deal would be done with world champion Jenson Button to stay.

Rosberg is ready for a change and he is a good choice for the team, as he has shown a lot of improvement this season, he tends to get the job done in qualifying and his pace in races is good. He is still prone to the odd mistake, like Singapore where he threw away a podium due to a simple error on the pit lane exit, but he is ready for the chance to show what he can do at the front of the field.

When he’s mixing it with Hamilton, Alonso, Massa and the rest we will also get a chance to see whether he has sufficient aggression, which is the one question mark a lot of team insiders want to know the answer to. Kimi Raikkonen would be an ideal team mate for Rosberg and give him an excellent yardstick, but at the moment Raikkonen seems be cool on the move,

“I’ve always thought that now Mercedes is involved, they will run two Germans,” he said at the weekend, adding “I’ve not spoken to Ross Brawn.” However it was noticeable that his manager Steve Robertson, having said last week that Raikkonen would take a year off, hit reverse gear after Button jumped ship and opened the door again for a dialogue with Mercedes.

The notion of Raikkonen racing alongside Rosberg was given further credibility by something else Brawn said over the weekend to Bild,

“If we get a combination of two equally strong drivers, then the strategy will be different than if you have a winner like Michael. Following Button’s move to McLaren, we will think differently. My desire is to find two experienced drivers. Nico Rosberg has more than three years in Formula 1, so I count him to be experienced.

“I do not want a novice who must find their way around racetracks, because we have very few opportunities to test drivers now. Performance without much practice is therefore the task. The good thing is we are not in a hurry.”

This is a consistent line from the team, that they are in no hurry. Their question mark over Raikkonen is which driver would they get, the one who performed miracles in a slow Ferrari from July onwards, or the one who went missing in action a few times over 2008 and early 2009?

If they are looking for a driver for two years, before they can get their hands on Sebastian Vettel, Raikkonen would be a good bet; most of his 2010 salary is paid by Ferrari, the problem would be agreeing a figure for 2011, when the €10 million Ferrari subsidy would not be available.

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Is this the James Allen that said a week ago that Kimi-Mercedes was a no way. This week its a no-brainer, whats changed?


It was probably me, not James. I can remember using the phrase.

I believe it is a no-brainer really, especially when Mercedes are going to need a driver to make the difference against Alonso, Massa, Hamilton, Button, Vettel and Webber next season even if they do have a good car, and who has proved it. However, no one said that Formula 1 bosses or even drivers made logical choices as to who and what they go for.

Raikkonen simply doesn’t care unless he knows he’ll get a winning car and he is able to go rallying and race other things, and with the lack of testing he feels it keeps him sharp. I don’t know how Mercedes would manage that. He also wants to minimise his appearance commitments as well. Money isn’t the issue. He is also probably buttering up a relationship with Red Bull with a view to rallying and then returning in 2011, which actually looks like more of a certainty now. When Hakkinen retired and tried to come back he had nothing to smooth his path back in.

It’s the logical move, perhaps more for Mercedes than it is for Raikkonen, but a lot of things can scupper it that would make Heidfeld a path of least resistance but more of a gamble. However, if they were going to sign Heidfeld it should have been announced today.


Who said no brainer?


So its not a no-brainer. Why? I felt you gave very vauge reasons.


what about a REAL surprise…Jacques Villeneuve! 😉

Apparently, he would be eager to get back to F1 and he still is a big name, so marketing-wise this would be a good move for MB.

But I agree, it is highly unlikely and does not make much sense…his name just popped up when reading about Haug’s “surprise”…

Personally, I would make a deal with Force India trying to lure away Liuzzi.


The latest rumor is Kimi is talking to Red Bull since he already has a deal with them for sponsorship, plus they have a Rally team… that would in turn see Vettel or Webber going to Brawn…. I would assume Webber for how loved Vettel is at Red Bull


“Kimi Raikkonen would be an ideal team mate for Rosberg and give him an excellent yardstick, but at the moment Raikkonen seems be cool on the move”

So is Heidfeld James. Norbert has said all their prospective drivers have had to sign NDAs and can’t talk about it, so the fact that Michaels Schumacher’s people are having to talk about it is telling.

I also found Raikkonen’s choice of words quite clever when asked about Mercedes as he talked about ‘two German drivers’. I read that as Raikkonen putting the ball in Mercedes’s court over the issue.


I think Kimi is looking at a combined contract including some rallies with a different manufacturer and sponsor and to sort that out with Mercedes can be a difficult call. I think they need to agree on every contractual details and that takes time.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I don’t rate Jenson, but Mercedes have messed up if they are now chasing journeyman Heidfield.

This will be the second time that Nick has benefited from knowing the words to “Das Deutschlandlied”. Mario Theissen extravagantly bestowed Nick a 3-year contract at BMW when there were better drivers on the market.

I hope that Norbert’s sense of “humour” does not extend to revealing Heidfield as the second driver. This team has the basis of a Superteam and need super drivers.

Mercedes GP will undoubtedly be the most “corporate” of next year’s teams. How would Kimi fit in? I understand that he was winging to McLaren about not having to do PR days….how would that go down in Stuttgart?

James, in order of probability for the second seat, would you go with the following?:






Yes, I think so


I tend to agree with James with regards to Mercedes trying to stay in the spotlight, and not just because it furthers my fantasy of Heidfeld winning a race. Haug keeps saying there might be “surprises” in the driver lineup, despite the fact that Schumacher has basically ruled out a return and Raikkonen (and his handlers) have said they haven’t spoken to Mercedes. Stealing the reign world champion is a major coup for McLaren no matter how you rate Button, just like how Rosberg/Heidfeld is an underwhelming lineup regardless of my belief that both can be winning drivers.


Everyone who said that Kimi is not motivation, tells more a about writer by itself and also weak analysis. Why dont you ask this from his team manager or read his comments?



So Rosberg in now officially a Mercedes GP driver. No surprise in that announcement. I think it’s great that Rosberg got the seat, but to tell you the truth, I think it will be quite risky to just rely on him to win the world championship.. Mercedes GP really needs someone experienced who actually HAS won races before (unlike Rosberg or Heidfeld). And that would be Kimi.

If Heidfeld was actually MercedesGP’s first choice of the remaining candidates, I’m sure they would have already sealed the deal and announced him at the same time as Rosberg! Why would they postpone the announcement if they didn’t have somebody else in mind? This indicates that negotiations are still going on.

First Haug said the second driver will be a surprise. Then last week he said that it will be a pleasant surprise. And today he said that it will be good for the whole sport… what does he mean by that?!



Have the recent announcements on drivers, team ownership, etc had any impact the sponsorship deals the team had lined up for 2010?

Orange on a silver car might not look that great!

Will Mercedes GP be taking part in the young driver test in Dec?


Kimi “went missing in action” early 2009 season for a large part because of other people in his team messed up.

See how high he was running in that race where they gave him rain tyres in the dry? WTF Was that. It was obviously not Kimi’s decision as he expressed pretty clearly after the race that he was not happy with that. Had it been his decision he would have said so, he’s a very honest man in his interviews.

Also Silverstone… he was stuck in traffic whilst Massa had more fuel and an open road to jump ahead of him.

Other examples also, but the thing is, I think Massa and Kimi were pretty close to each other speed-wise in the first half of the season. It’s unfair to say “Kimi went missing in action”, there were others who screwed up at Ferrari and made him lose a lot of points.

And remember the KERS fire? Yup it was in Kimi’s car. It helps a lot to get good results when your ass is on fire LOLO LOL!!11


After 2007 and when Jean Todt left I think Kimi’s ‘disappointing’ results have largely been as a result of him being put on the political backburner in the team. That would seem to be rather strange considering the money they have invested in him. Massa started getting the parts that he wanted on the car in 2008 and it was part of a process where Ferrari decided that they wanted to get a championship for Massa and where they started backing him far more. In the end, he still couldn’t deliver a championship. The Schumacher camp in the team must also have been a factor.

You only need to read some of Alain Prost’s comments about what a political environment Ferrari are, and while that disappeared to an extent under Jean Todt and Ross Brawn it would be naive to think that it still doesn’t happen.

He’s a very uncomplicated driver Raikkonen. If you back him well, listen to what he wants from the car and act on it then he will win against anyone. If you don’t back him then he won’t whine to the press like some other drivers. He’ll simply get on with it and roll with the punches until he gets fed up and leaves. Politicking is not what he does or is interested in.


Baldissari had an unhappy time of it on the pitwall. I believe it was he who pretended not recieve an email from Charlie Whiting instructing all teams to begin a wet race on full wets, and decided to chance it on inters. Result: Kimi and Massa penalised.

James, do you know what he’s up to now job wise?


There you go, it’s official. Perhaps we’ll get the real measure of Rosberg if Mercedes make a good enough car, regardless of who becomes his teammate. But, even if he’s paired with Heidfeld, instead of the likes of Schumi or Kimi, I don’t think he’ll have an easy time.


By announcing Rosberg on his own I think it demonstrates that Mercedes are not even close to confirming the second driver. I understand the original plan was to announce both their driver’s at the same time in a large fanfare. I think this also indicates that they were genuinely caught off guard by Button signing for MacLaren.

Raikkonen would be a good signing given Brawn’s comments above although I suspect that in the long term he could prove more costly than Button with less hunger. I tend to think more and more that Brawn made a mistake by not re-signing Button earlier in the year when he had the chance.

Because all the speculation has centred on Button re-signing I also wonder if Brawn is regretting not retaining Barrichello as a foil for Rosberg. He would have provided continuity as well as a guiding light for a driver who has yet to realise his potential.


Dave, I think you got it spot on! However I don’t think JB’s camp made good decisions either. Button’s contract should have been wrapped up during the summer break, but the teams were waiting to see what Fernando would do. I wish Button & Rosberg well in their new teams, but I can’t help thinking that Button has missed a golden opportunity to make Brawn GP his team…just like Michael & Lewis!


With all due respect, Raikkonen did not go “missing” during 2008 and early 2009. During 2008 he had several issues, no doubting that; but one must look at all of these combined issues(some of which have been documented by Ferrari personel. Getting everything working you’re way in F1 is more complex than ever at the moment. The reality is Raikkonen did get everything working the way he wanted it, but this does not mean he did not drive as well as Massa.

Regarding early 2009. If you look at every result and take all the different variables into accound, Kimi and Massa were more or less even. Why is it that Kimi has to dominate his team mate for anyone to consider him to be driving up well. Both Massa and Kimi had close battles and were incredibly even, much the same way as Hamilton and Alonso were at Mclaren. Difference is Ham vs. Alonso was viewed as a close battel between two great drivers whereas Kimi vs. Massa was viewed as a battle just as close but Kimi underperforming.

If nothing else that is an insult to Massa.

Back to 2008; Kimi did extremely well to be so close to Massa considering the car developments had gone in favour of Massa from Germany onwards. But that goes back to my other point; F1 is more complex than ever. Massa is alot more extraverted and knew how to get the team on his side, Kimi had no idea in this departement. Sad but true. F1 is more political than ever


Kel, While I agree with your Pro-Kimi argument. You have not taken into account the fact that Kimi was still in Hibernation in 2009, he came out of his winter sleep only after Hungary, till Hungary , Massa was still leading the Finn.

While I always trust Kimi and his speed, I have always found Kimi pretty much a laid back character driving for nobody but “Himself”. Compare his urgency post Hungary to tidy up his resume against that of his 2006 season where he had already cut deal with Ferrari so didn’t care rat’s a$$ about McLaren and its dud of a car, he used to turn up every Sunday and listless drive the car just what it was capable of (3rd best after Renault and Ferrari).

So James’s question of which Kimi turns up is very important. Of course 2010 Kimi in F1 will be very motivated, given his ouster from Ferrari (and again by Alonso), must have caused some bitterness and the Finn must have a point to prove to his detractors. But then his endless haggle on price doesn’t really show that urgency to “Prove his Point”


“You have not taken into account the fact that Kimi was still in Hibernation in 2009, he came out of his winter sleep only after Hungary, till Hungary , Massa was still leading the Finn.”

It’s all swings and roundabouts, but the fact that Raikkonen’s results got noticeably better after Massa’s accident and he was no longer around doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. Raikkonen didn’t just perk up for no reason at all, but rather a few things got out of his way that allowed him to get on with things.

It kind of gives you the impression that Ferrari had been backing the wrong horse. 😉

“…his 2006…he used to turn up every Sunday and listless drive the car just what it was capable of (3rd best after Renault and Ferrari).”

I don’t understand that. That’s exactly where the McLaren was relative to the Renault and Ferrari, especially with Alonso and Schumacher driving them. He had poles at Hungary, Germany and a startling one at Monza where he finished second and ran a close second to Alonso at Monaco until the car overheated.

The McLaren was where it was and I didn’t see a driver who wasn’t trying there. He probably had fallen out with Ron Dennis though.


Sorry, but the facts don’t bare that out. Even Martin Brundle has said that this whole contract thing is rubbish. Where was Raikkonen at Singapore if he felt so under threat? Well, the car was just plain rubbish there.

It’s a nice theory but it doesn’t hold up, certainly not in Formula 1. Your standing and position over many races and seasons doesn’t lie and you can’t make up for it in a handful of races.


If Kimi was not trying in the 2006 Mclaren how was he beating the highly regarded Montoya?


Kimi reminds me of certain English Cricketers of erstwhile era, they used to play a good inning here and there only when there contract was up for renewal or their place in team was in jeopardy. And when I say certain, talent wise they were the best that the market could have offered (just Kimi), but their attitude was always a question mark just like Finns.

If he really cares that much about “Racing” he would have placed a realistic offer on the table and not something that will never be discussed by any serious team in current economy


I think a retainer of £8M + £4M performance bonus (the sum Fry claimed to be the offer to Jensen) would be more than enough to pay Kimi if he changes his mind to race in F1.



James, this is my first post here. Firstly, I want to admit I got addicted to your blog. The information is always spot-on, you bring insight and don’t just quote the official p.r. statements as some other sites seem to. So congratulations!

As someone who is not a native English speaker I have trouble comprehending this statement from Ross Brawn:

“If we get a combination of two equally strong drivers, then the strategy will be different than if you have a winner like Michael. Following Button’s move to McLaren, we will think differently. My desire is to find two experienced drivers.”

Does that mean they considered Nico equally strong as Jenson or did they plan Nico to be Jenson’s Nr. 2?

Also, do you think the Brackley team considers Nico to be a contender for the WDC crown in their car or just a strong WCC support driver?


They expected Rosberg to rise up to the challenge and level of Button, as equals. I think they have a lot of faith in Rosberg and he fits well with the corporate strategy of Mercedes.


Mercedes if your reading this, please sign Kimi Raikkonen. World champion and proven grand prix winner that will get the job done.


Fingers crossed that good sense will prevail.

The Iceman in a fast motor and Ross B on the pitwall is the absolute pinnacle of dream teams. KR and NR would be unstoppable.


James, Some people have suggested that Heidfeld could fit into the new Mercedes team. But they are missing a crucial piece of analysis that shows he cannot possibly fit in:

He simply doesn’t have the right letters in his name. Think about it…

Mercedes were known as the ‘BRA’wn team (previously ‘BAR’) and are headed by Ross ‘BRA’wn and are based in ‘BRA’ckley. Their recent drivers included Rubens ‘BAR’richello (who incidentally is ‘BRA’zilian). In 2009 Richard ‘BRA’nson wanted to exploit his Virgin ‘BRA’nd with ‘BRA’wn. Now ‘BRA’wn has been re’BRA’nded Mercedes F1, but with the backing of who? Aa’BAR’ Investments. RosBerg has some of the same letters, as would RAikonnen, but Heidfeld has none!

Incidentally, a similar logic tells you that Jenson Butt’ON’ will get on really well at McLar’EN’, just like the majority of drivers since R’ON’ took over: Hamilt’ON’, Raikkon’EN’, Kovalein’EN’, Hakkin’EN’, S’EN’na, Al’ON’so, M’ON’toya, Wats’ON’, and so ‘ON’…

Can this all be just a coincidence??

Just call me if you ever need help with your research.

Best regards, CharleyW


I loved it! 🙂


Too nice 🙂


What can I say…?

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

????…you forgot about Alain ProstON at McLaren….


Oh yeah… and um… Coulthard. Oh well.

Do you want to hear about how many ‘E’s you need to drive for Red Bull? I guess not…


I know every one loves Kimi but I’d love to see Nick Heidfield in the car. I was never much of a fan of his but I reckon he would be a great team mate for Nico and could even cause a few surprises.


Certainly a deserved promotion for Rosberg though I must admit, I don’t think he’d get the best out of himself if his yardstick was Heidfeld. Hopefully, Mercedes will go out of their way and do the sensible thing and put a proper driver in the other sit, making this line up three quarters Finish and one quarter German 😉


I’m not convinced by Rosberg. I think Webber showed his true level when they were team mates and he’s done nothing in a ’09 Williams that was at times looked very quick. Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel would have won with that car…

Schumacher is 41 and will be a short-term solution. Maybe there would be some excitement seeing him blow off the cobwebs but I want to look towards the future, not the past.

It’s a pity Ross is ruling out inexperienced drivers (Paul de Resta anyone?) but Heidfeld desrves a chance more than anyone…


Remember that Rosberg was a Rookie and Webber an Old Dog; it’s not intelligent to think that Rosberg hasn’t improved since they were team mate.

So you think Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel could win at the FW31? Oh dear


Why did Merc wait until now to confirm Rosberg?



To get the takeover announced, then the Button deal, but it was delayed and then the switch happened.


That’s what I think happened too. It was probably made clear to Button that nothing was going to be done until the Mercedes takeover was announced, but Button and his manager got cold feet and wanted to pressure Brawn into a deal that would secure his future upfront. Brawn simply couldn’t offer that. Button simply didn’t trust Brawn and Mercedes, in other words.




Button jumping ship has really put the cards back in Kimi’s deck…. Kimi has never worked with a race day genious like Brawn and that might too be enticing…. I don’t see Brawn putting him on full wets when three rain drops are in the air!

The World Champ team can’t really go into next year with 2 guys who have never won a race with 220 races between them….. but will they let Kimi rally like he wants?


…and it’s done. Good, now who’s the other guy??

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