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Rosberg: “I’ve nothing to lose” against Schumacher
Rosberg: “I’ve nothing to lose” against Schumacher
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Jan 2010   |  10:00 am GMT  |  117 comments

Nico Rosberg has come out strongly in a fantastic interview today by my colleague Frederic Ferret in L’Equipe sports newspaper in France, claiming that he is not afraid of going up against a driver he considers the “best driver ever”.

Rosberg targets Bahrain win (Photo: Darren Heath)

Rosberg targets Bahrain win (Photo: Darren Heath)

The 24 year old faces a very different season from the one he anticipated when he signed for Brawn last summer. Instead of Jenson Button alongside him, he has the seven times world champion Michael Schumacher and already, given Schumacher’s track record with team mates and approach to racing, there has been a lot of talk about how Rosberg will be put in the shade.

But Rosberg uses the interview to set the record straight on how he has had assurances from Ross Brawn of equal equipment and treatment from the team and on why he was happy to yield and let Schumacher have race number three.

“It’s (the winter) been…how shall I say this? Interesting.” said Rosberg. “But to tell you the truth it hasn’t been easy to live through. I signed with Brawn, but there remained the uncertainty over the Mercedes buyout. That was very important to me, it made the move from Williams make sense. I thought I was going to be Button’s team mate, then he went to McLaren and I was really surprised. At that time there was no talk of Michael.

“In motor sport you need a reference and this is unbelievable – I’ve got the very best there is next to me – you couldn’t dream for more. I’ve nothing to lose. I’ve got THE reference point in F1 – in ten, or even fifty years from now people will be talking about Michael Schumacher. And the most important thing is that we will have equal equipment.”

On this point Rosberg says he is certain. He’s had detailed discussions with Ross Brawn on the subject,
“I know he (Schumacher) is his friend and it was important to clarify the situation and erase all doubts which might fester in the team. I’ve got the weapons to fight against the best driver off all time.”

Rosberg also makes his first comment on the subject of Schumacher requesting a swap to take the ‘lead car’ number 3, for reasons of superstition. The younger man turns the situation around and says that he’s not the one with the superstitions, in other words there are no such chinks in his armour.

“When I win in Bahrain – that’s my goal – no-one will care any more about the numbers on the cars.”

Rosberg will be given the honour of being the first driver out of the garage to test the new Mercedes on February 1 in Valencia. After that they will both be given exactly equal time in the car before Bahrain.

Rosberg says that he has yet to speak to his new team mate, some four weeks after Schumacher was announced and that the last time they spoke was in 2006. The pair are not scheduled to meet until they are unveiled together on Monday at the official Mercedes launch in Stuttgart.

Although Nico has a sure footed PR touch here, no doubt the German media will be working on digging up the many uncomplimentary things Nico’s father Keke has said about Schumacher over the years. He has been one of his harshest critics.

Rosberg’s line today backs up the intervention from Mercedes boss Norbert Haug yesterday in the German media, where he said that Rosberg, “Has always wanted to drive the Silver Arrows in Formula One, and have Michael Schumacher as his teammate. That may sound like a fabulous PR statement, but it is precisely the truth.

“To be a team’s No.1 is done only through extraordinary effort, and I trust that both of our drivers will give this, especially if we give them a very good car.”

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i think the guy printing out the compares in the merc garage will be very busy!!

still, as mentioned, it’s a win-win for rosberg. no-one expects him to be able to beat schumacher, he has the best team mate for his own development and he’s acknowledged that rather than doing a kimi, and if he does beat schumacher, then people will really start to rate him.

i think rosberg has faded a little bit at wiliams, i remember his first race at bahrain when he really shone. hopefully for his sake he can perform at that level again or he’ll quickly be left behind.


I wonder whether Mercedes intended Schumacher to score points and Rosberg-good-looking for marketing purposes?


Sorry to sound a slightly sceptic note, but…

Has Nico found out what Schumacher’s secret advantage will be? Can Schumacher really be pitting himself against Ham, Alo, Vit, Kub, and Rosby with only his great racing prowess to fight with?


I certainly hope he gets a fair chance at Schumacher. While I was certain Mercedes would have a good car for the new season, now I am not so sure. With the double diffusers being banned again and with them being so central to the performance of last years’ car do you see them having some issues with this?


Double Decker Diffusers are banned from 2011 not this year.

Everyone is assuming that Merc will have a good car but we really don’t know until we see them on track. Who would have put their money on Brawn and Redbull last year.

Even with a dog of a McLaren in last years winter testing, people were still speculating that there was some sandbagging going on


I didn’t know you could add web links onto your home screen.


How can Nico say he has nothing to lose? anyone who does not beat his team mate is going to lose credibility. For him the season can end in 2 ways.

Beat a 7 times world champ (past his prime)


Got beat by a Pensioner.

My money is on the F1 Pensioner being slower until he gets his feet under the table and then showing Nico how it is done


Can’t agree with you on that Ati. In 2008 the car clearly was alot better by the end of the season.. Whether or not you can attribute that improvement to Alonso I don’t know… 2009 the car started a pig and simply never got any better.. Again is it really the driver who can affect aerodynamic changes to a car? No doubt information from the driver is important but needs to be translated then into improvements made by engineers and aero experts. The main point I was making however in terms of the subject is that Rosberg… A driver who has not to this point after four full seasons in the sport shown anything extraordinary will not be able to defeat a man who was consistently the best. From the moment of his first grand prix to his last, Schumacher was always if not the best at least equal to the best.. Rosberg surely won’t have a chance.


If Nico plays his cards right – he could have a good season this year learning to win from MS. In the same way Massa did in MS last year or so at Ferrari

Nico will be good to beat MS this year also – I am not 100% convinced MS will be “on it”

But the main point is Nico should see the big picture here and have a serious go at the title in 2011 (before Vettel arrives)


You know sometimes common sense isn’t very common.

At the end of the day efforts go where the pace is.

Lewis gets better treatment because he IS better than Kova.

MS or Nico will gets better treatment if they are better than their teammate.

In the world of business, people hire people for results. Friendship goes where the results come from.

If MS isn’t up to the job (which I doubt), Brawn will say “thanks Michael, with your vast experience, you can help and coach Nico to win the title.”

Ohh and the car set ups blur blur build around x-y driver, drivers like Lewis or Schumi do not have a problem with adapting different cars.

Some of the people here live in a town called hypocrisy.

They talk about fairness but it isn’t exactly fair to degrade certain drivers who are so good and earned No1 status on the track.


Agreed 100%. Results and achievements are what’s important. Rosberg must be positive and learn as much as he can, like Massa did.


Rosburg is toast… there is nothing he’s done in the past to indicate he is any better then a Kimi or a Webber… very sub par, consistently…

Michael will destroy him…


Although it is very true that Fernando Alonso defeated Schumacher both in 2005 and 2006, he did not do so driving a Ferrari. He did not do so driving in the same team as Michael at the same time, and that is very important.

Schumacher has always managed to dominate his past team mates, despite their best efforts, both on the circuit and through mind games. These are the challenges that Nico Rosberg faces, challenges that have stumped men like Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine for instance, and they are both proven race winners.

That in itself is Rosberg’s biggest dilemma. He has yet to win a grands prix, and that is very important. The longer he goes without winning in Formula One, the more his confidence will erode, and the more people will doubt his talent.

The positive in all of this is that no one expects Rosberg to succeed against Schumacher. There are some who predict that atleast Button will push Hamilton, or that Massa will test Alonso, but Rosberg? He has been fed to the wolves ever since Michael put pen to Mercedes Benz paper.

The cruel irony, is that this is supposed to be Rosberg’s big break. Three years with Williams produced meagre results, a car that was often just not quick enough, nowhere near as good as it was during the Montoya/Ralf Schumacher years. And now that ‘break’ has been overshadowed totally, and far from being a move up the ladder now seems as if he is back where he started.

I agree that he does have nothing to lose. If he caves to Schumacher easily, will that be too much of a shock to everybody in the pitlane? I seriously doubt to see too many people fussing over it, not as much as say Hamilton getting beat by Button or Alonso to Massa.

However, if Rosberg does have success, then the pundits will take notice. To be honest, I think he will perform better this year than most give him credit. The onus is on Michael Schumacher to come back out of retirement and win the 2010 world championship, a feet some make sound so easy its as if the German has already won the title.

Lets remember that every season there is a surprise. A driver and a team that grabs everybody’s attention and upsets the sports natural balance of power.


In all honesty, who cares what Nico Rosberg has to say? Has he ever won a race? He seems like a nice enough bloke. He has a reasonable amount of talent as well. But he has alot to prove before he can be considered a top flight driver. Best of luck to him this season but he has nothing in the way of true accomplishments to warrant any serious consideration at the moment.


If Schumacher beats Rosberg then the same old disillusioned anti Schumacher individuals will say ‘he’s quite clearly got the better car’. No – like when he was team mate to Barrichello, Herbert etc, it was merely because he was a much better driver than them.


When Mika Häkkinen and Michael Schumacher were fighting for the F1 Championship, Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine were giving controversial statements to the press about Häkkinen – they were trying to rattle him.

Keke was there to protect Mika from that so it is natural he would have set his words to protect Mika and say a few nasty words about Schumacher. One thing I remember Keke pointing out was that Mika doesn’t understand German and doesn’t read the German newspapers so anything they put out in the German newspapers is useless. The German newspapers were the main outlet for the controversial statements the Ferrari drivers were making of Mika.

Against that background it is understandable that Keke has criticised Schumacher – he had every right to do so. I am pretty sure Michael Schumacher would agree. So no problem there. Michael must know what he said about Mika and what he did to Mika on the track and so he should understand Mika’s manager coming out and saying a few nasty things about Michael in return and leaving Mika to respond on the race tracks.


Oh yeah… and Mika won. It was Michael who was rattled.

Michael was rattled in 2003 as well and almost lost to a driver who only won 1 race during the season – that would have been very embarrassing to such great driver as Michael Schumacher.

Maybe it was Michael Schumacher rattling himself – he may well be his biggest enemy judging by the many examples we have seen of how he has lost his nerves when put in a tough situation.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

In 2000 Barrichello came to the team announcing that he was not a number two to Schuey, which many people found hard to believe.

In confident style Michael stated that the driver who proved fastest would be team number one.

Di Montezemolo clarified the situation by stating that the team had a number “1A” and a number “1B” driver.


What Nico needs to do is become a sponge and take in as much as he can from the time he has MS as his team mate. It shows with Massa how being mentored by the great one can turn you from a mediocre driver into a championship contender. If I was him, I would be watching everything he does, how he gets the team to work with him and the way the man operates. Many of us saw how he did it at Ferrari so Nico just needs to learn and put it into effect. Opportunities like this are a once in a lifetime dream


How did Mercedes Benz go from wanting only to provide engines to the Sauber team some years ago to wanting to be a ‘German Superteam’ with 3 German drivers in 2010?

What has caused the change?

Is Nico Rosberg ‘German’ enough, having a Finnish father?

How long will Englishman Ross Brawn be welcome at Mercedes?


Keep in mind, Ferrari (fiercely Italian) wanted to keep Brawn. This after how many years of service? I think Germans know a good deal when they see one.


When looking at Nico’s career we need to keep in mind that he’s yet to be in a truly competitive car, so really has had no chance to win, yet he’s done well with it. He’s also, in my opinion, at least as intelligent as MS and will play the game well. He doesn’t get rattled under pressure, as we’ve seen Michael do, and this year Michael will get more than a little pressure from the rest of the field and this could well play to Nico’s advantage. It’s going to be a long and very interesting season friends.


Rubbish. As intelligent as Schumacher? where did you get that from?

Doesn’t get rattled under pressure? Like Singapore when he jumped the pit exit line?

Never in a truly competitive car? Why is that? If he was one of the best, the engineers would have noticed and got him signed to a good team.

One thing agreed on, it will be an interesting season.


I don’t classify missing the pit exit line in the same category as parking it on the track in Monaco, or instinctively trying to crash into a competitor. As far as Nico in a competitive car, he’s been with Williams from the start of his career and he wouldn’t be at Mercedes now if the “engineers” hadn’t noticed his talent.


Rosberg given equal status and equipment in a team containing Michael Schumacher?

It wont happen……Schumacher has never allowed that to happen during the whole of his F1 carear!


Im not so sure, I seem to remember the student teacher thing schumi and massa had during 2006, he isnt starting out in his career, so will be more willing to help develop the car/team as i think he will take up a more consulting role with merc as he did with ferrari when the time comes. i believe he is doing this as one more go just to see what will happen! But then i still could be very wrong!!


D’you know, that’s about the most coherent interview with a driver I’ve read so far. While Massa, Button et al are wandering around, hands stuffed in pockets telling anyone who’ll listen that they are, in fact, just as fast as their team mate, Rosberg has the common decency to admit that he has nothing to lose. He does sound as if he’s trying to embrace all the benefits of racing in the same team as Schu, of which I imagine there are many. Look how well Massa came on when he sought the advice of Schu instead of making a battle out of it. History has proven that Schu is bigger than any team mate he’s had and there’s a reason for that. You can either treat it as a fantastic tutoring opportunity that will bear fruit later in your career, or fail comprehensively to fit in. It would be like not bothering to listening to how to take a penalty from Beckham. No brainer.


I see what you’re saying, but neither Hamilton nor Alonso have the same “doyenne-like” status as MS and so their team-mates would seem… well, a bit weak if they took the same tack.


2009 proved Brawn will provide his drivers with equal equipment. But it was the human side, the drivers ability to setup and driver the car, as well as race tactics that determined the championship. I think 2010 the same, Schumacher will be favorite to win even with equal equipment. The tell tale sign is always when one driver starts getting racecar updates before the other, which Brawn didn’t do in 2009, good on him.

I get from the interview that Rosberg has no intentions of being friends with, or work as closely together as with Schumacher & Massa. Even Felipe and Alonso have already started communicating to put their difference behind them so politics won’t hamper the team during the season. The old problem of having employee’s wanting to work together vs not wanting to work together.


If equal treatment/equipment was not an issue then no ne would mention it (same goes for any comments Lewis and/or Jenson may make on the subject)

Nico isnt right, in my opinion, if he is spanked by MS then it will damage him as he is a young gun and the future of F1 – if he cannot beat MS then it will say a lot about him – Alonso has beaten MS twice (winning WDC) and is the only one on the track that will have nothing to fear.


Yes, indeed. Alonso had 2 cracks at beating Schumi with a competitive car, and did so on both occasions. These days, Alonso is even better and Schumi is very likely not as good. Still just as wily, but I question whether his body and mind will be fully up to it after having 3 years out.

Changing the subject, is anyone offering odds of Schumi and Hamilton knocking each other out of races? Irresistable force, immovable object.


Going by Alonso’s results post 2006 he may as well have sat out the past three years like Schumi. On that note I’d call it a draw.


In Schumacher’s years from ’94 onwards he was beaten to championships by: Hill, Villeneuve, Hakkinen, Alonso. Alonso is the only one he hasn’t beaten back yet. In all but 1999 and 2006 he had vastly inferior equipment, incidentally the years he had some pretty bad luck at crucial points. I wouldn’t put Alonso on a pedistal, especially considering his temper flares – he’s possibly as talented as Schumacher, but no way is as rounded.

Schumacher is greatly critical of himself and his abilities so I don’t believe he would come back if he has a chance to win. He may be 41 in years, but by way of finance he has access to the best doctors in the world, who have told him that he has the fitness of a 25 year old.

As for a Hamilton/Schumacher scrap, highly likely… I’m banking on a Hamilton/Schumacher/Vettel fight to the wire this year. Alonso will be in an uncompetitive Ferrari, watch.


I agree with most of what you’re saying, but my point was that Alonso beat him in 06, and that year they both had competitive cars. Since then, I believe Alonso has improved yet I also believe that 3 years out will have blunted Schumacher somewhat. I do wonder about how well Ferrari will do. It would be a great shame to see one of the best drivers in the field unable to compete, but let’s all wait until the season starts to see if Ferrari have managed to pull their finger out and get a competitive car and improve their fuel efficiency. And how much McLaren have improved.


Nico knows Lewis Hamilton is quicker than him so here’s a possible conversation between him and Norbert Haug last year.

Haug: “Sign with us Nico, being German you’ll be very popular”

Nico: “Ok, but I don’t want to be team-mates with Hamilton”

Haug: “That’s fine, you can drive for Brawn”

Nico: “Great, I’ll sign”

Followed by –

Haug: “I want you to know you’re a great asset to this team, I’m telling you this because there’s a good chance we can sign-

Nico: “It’s ok I already know, the rumour’s been around for a while, I’m fine with it, anyway two German drivers is ideal for Mercedes, it’ll be great to have all his experience to use, plus I reckon I can have him.”

Haug: “Oh, that’s the spirit, I’m glad you’re happy, I assure you he won’t be the number one driver and get preferable treatment.”

Nico: “I should hope not, blimey, that’s the sort of unfair advantage Michael Schumacher gets not Nick Heifeld.”

Haug: …….errr


Love it 🙂


brawn knows exactly what kind of car suits schumacher, what he needs to get the most out of a car…and they are busy building the car that way.

so rosberg cannot do anything else then follow what the car dictates, which will be built to suit schumacher’s style.

so yes, they will get the same material….which suits schumacher better 😛

and all i saw from rosberg was him beating very average teammates and being beaten by webber. is he really that good? reminds me of those rocky movies where they would put a weaker boxer in front of an average one and he would win…


Given that he signed in late December and the car is being launched on Monday I don’t think there has been time to build a car around Schumacher’s requirements!


Lets not forget it does not take Schey long to be able to drive round an issue if the car is not to his liking!

James, do you have any time off, your dedication to your blog is commendable….


beg to differ, James, with respect.

Brawn has been planning the MS move for some time. Kimi seems to have known about it back in November and mentioned to the press that Merc were after “2 germans”.

Must add, the way Brawn got rid of Button was a brilliant bit of engineering in itself!!


You are SPOT ON…I think it was before that….


Yes..but November was after the season ended. Rosberg signed long before that


So would that mean given how late in the day Button moved to Mclaren, the car is more suited to him?

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