Rosberg: I am confident there is no number one and no number two
Mercedes
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Apr 2013   |  12:57 pm GMT  |  90 comments

Nico Rosberg says he is confident that there is no number one and no number two at Mercedes despite being asked to hold position behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia.

Rosberg, 27, was quicker than Hamilton, 28, in the closing stages in Sepang and asked if he could overtake the 2008 world champion.

However team principal Ross Brawn refused his request citing that Hamilton had been asked to back off due to concerns over fuel consumption.

Hamilton went on to finish third, scoring his first podium for the team and saying after the race that Rosberg deserved to be on the podium, with the German fourth.

The German’s current contract, which was signed before Hamilton agreed his deal, has a clause which guarantees equal status within the team.

If Hamilton has a clause giving him number one status, Rosberg’s contract would be breached.

Speaking in Shanghai ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, where he won his maiden Formula 1 race last year, Rosberg insisted he had been given assurances that both drivers had equal status.

He said: “I am very confident that there is number one and number two. Extremely confident. But you can also answer that question yourself in a few weeks’ time or months’ time.”

Rosberg repeatedly questioned the decision to hold position during the race at Sepang but said that came about because the team had not discussed the procedure of such a situation before the race.

He said: “The difficulty was that we hadn’t really discussed it beforehand. That was the mistake that we did. It’s important going forward that everything is discussed and then whichever way it goes, if I’m in front and Lewis is behind or vice-a-versa, we will respect it.

“As long as one is prepared for it, it’s discussed and it’s understood, that’s the important thing. That’s the main mistake we did as a team.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton cancelled his media commitments in Shanghai on Thursday, returning to his hotel due to illness.

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1

As others have mentioned why can’t Nico and some of the posters acknowledge each time he over took Hamilton, Hamilton took the place back….. its crazy.

If they had raced on would they have both failed to finish?

That was the reason for the ‘orders’ both were advised to slow down – I like Nico but this was a play to the cameras, for sure. If Hamilton was not there he would still only have driven fast enough for 3rd.

If fuelled correctly Hamilton could have challenged the RBs for the win, seriously it was an impressive drive given Mercs last season he WAS racing for the win – at no point was Rosberg in that position through out the ‘racing’ stints.

I think this is the big downside of F1 on Sky – it looks like only a few actually SAW the race the rest seem to be commenting on the media reports.

I am no fan of team orders but Rosberg needs to get on with the bizniz, if he’s going to beat Hamilton then beat him, out qualify him, lead, do it – not wait till the last few laps after team orders to turn down the engines. then harp on about being quicker – thats pretty immature.

Even so, looks like I’m turning into a fully fledged Merc fan this story-line is to me more intriguing than the Vettel/Webber story-line.

2

Can someone tell me if you guys in GB can get all of the radio messages? I saw the Sky web app and man it looks amazing. Fox has something very much like it here and you can listen to all of your teams radio transmissions from it. You can as it appears in the Sky app watch the in car. Unfortunately F1 is on NBC here and while they are showing P2 and Q2 and the race with an hour of analysis afterwards that is all. The guys doing the show are pretty good but there is only so much support at this point.

3

The Fox app is for NASCAR, forgot to mention that.

4

Nico – DISOBEY TEAM ORDERS! the next time it happens.

Yes, yes, yes the team needs the points for money.

We fans want real racing for christ sake!

5

Rosberg; “The difficulty was that we hadn’t really discussed it beforehand.”

History repeats itself. Sounds like Silverstone 2011 from another team. Dont get me wrong i like Rosberg however i just get the feeling that something is missing in his overall package. HAM has plenty of it.

Frankly i cannot see him, when the backs are against the wall, being given the ‘nod’ over HAM, whether intentionally or not unless it means MERC gets an extra place up the ladder in the WCC in the last race. Is that a no: 1 or no: 2?, doesn’t matter what they call it but that what happens at the end of the day.

6

this guy is in trouble…so everytime this kind of situation arises he will have to hold station and will lose points to Lewis. Eventually he will have to support Lewis when season is in crucial stage or Lewis is fighting for championship only because Nico gave his points to Lewis.

He should have done a Vettel here cause my friend (and Webber) if you are in a war and your opponent is out of bullets you are not supposed to spare his life. He is out of bullets cause he didnt use it wisely!!!

7

It’s all interesting & current but also cumbersome and dull.It is great that comm’s are available but I can see that it would be so much simpler to go back to just Pit Board communications, even if only after last pit stop. One only has to look at job titles…

The Team Principal must dictate, but the Driver must drive

8

Who radio the pit lane for permission to pass? Are we racing or having tea? Seems that he could take a lesson from VET. Until he grows a pair he will be the defacto #2 driver.

9

Had the same curiosity too.

If he wants number one, he gotta work and fight for it to earn it.

10

Mercedes has a very good car this season. Nico will have his chance. The problem will be more near the end depending on the standings and the plans Mercedes has for next season.

P.S. James, what kind of illness Lewis has? I wish him a speedy recovery

11

If Lewis can’t race bring Hakkinen out of retirement . That would be something.

12

That would be something… of a Schumacher-style embarrassment for Mika.

13
ice cream is faster than you

Nico Rosbergs is Merc´s new #2 driver and also every other top teams #2 driver should he decide to part from Merc. After Malaysia the team principals of Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren or Lotus will just assume he is a easy to handle candidate for a support driver role in their teams.

Rosberg should take a leaf out of his countrymans Vettel (add Hulk, Sutil) book and stop bending over for anyone. He can still win Mercs first race in 2013 in China, and the second and … If he doesnt F1 found its new Massa, Barrichello, Berger for the next 5 years !

14

You forget to add Coulthard and Fisi to that list

15

Delusional – a driver is always paid what he’s worth to the team, I wonder how their salaries compare?

16

If it hadn’t been discussed, why did he ask for permission? Why didn’t he just go and overtake?

Or did he and the team was first on the radio telling him to back off?

17

Nah, he was just frustrated. And thats because each time he patiently took several laps to overtake Lewis, the damn Lewis IMMEDIATELY overtook him right back. So he asked Ross Brawn for help and got, “negative Nico!”

18

The mind games…..

Nico does this “he’s too slow” to distabalize Hamilton when he watches the re-runs later in the day.

Hamilton returns the favour by faking embarressment on the podium, knowing he put “him undermanners” (loaned from one of Martin Brundle’s better F1 quips) each time he dared to impose himself on the track…..lol

F1 – best soap opera on the telly.

19

rosberg is right and is confident of his abilities. he doesn’t need to beat around the bush about it. after all he beat the great schumacher each and everyone of the 3 seasons they were teammates.

20

But the current Schumi aint no Lewis.

Perhaps, a younger Schumi and Lewis would have been rivals.

In fact Schumi should have maintained his enigmatic status and never have returned to F1, it just didn’t work out. He kept having car issues and running into the backs of other cars.

21

at the end of the season we will be clear to us how hamilton and schumachers performance against compare.

22
Mike from Colombia

Not by much in 2011 and 2012 is debatable.

23

nearly is not good enough. beating is beating. the margin doesn’t matter, just like a race win. it doesn’t matter by what margin you win. a win is a win.

24

i personally dont believe there is a number 1 at merc.

i mean if ppl really think lewis is number 1 at merc,they must believe mark is the number 1 at redbull considering they told vettel not to overtake him.

further more nico did overtake lewis twice and was unable to make either stick.

if lewis was really the number 1,they wouldnt have allowed nico to overtake lewis even once.

25

Precisely. There’s no evidence right now that if it had been Rosberg ahead at that stage (perhaps after making one of his overtaking moves stick), that Lewis wouldn’t have been asked to stay behind Nico. As I see it, Brawn had 3 options.

1) Let them race

2) Ask them to hold stations

3) Ask them to swap positions.

I’m personally in favour of 1, but many team principles opt for 2. The only reason I can see for 3 is if there’s something more on the line, such as if there was a threat from behind or a chance to catch the car ahead. This wasn’t the case here.

The order to hold station is a common one. People weren’t talking about number 1 drivers with FI in Melbourne and no one is suggesting Webber is number 1 at RB. The people who call this “clear” evidence of favoritism seem to be seeing what they want to see (Of course they coyld be proved right but, as any scientist knows, one data point isn’t enough to spot a trend).

Incidentally I only recently discovered this site and it’s already my favorite for F1 analysis. Good job!

26

Thanks, tell your friends

27

I could be wrong but I don’t think any driver in F1 history had a driver status written in their contract. Barrichello has always said that he did not and just at times acted according to team wishes. That does not mean there are not favourites, like Vettel or Alonso or Shumi within a team.

28

Many, many moons ago in the dim and distant 90’s, I recall Martin Brundle referencing a clause in David Coulthard’s contract during a race commentary which stated that he (Coulthard) would be required to move over for Mika Hakkinen should the situation arise. Martin Brundle was David Coulthard’s manager at the time, so he should know. Does that constitute a contractual #2? In situations similar to the one being discussed, it certainly does.

29

I don’t know if any have ever admitted an actual contractual clause was signed, but I have seen interviews with several drivers who didn’t end up signing with Ferrari as they had been given contracts to sign which stated their position in the team was secondary to a chosen star.

30

“I am very confident that there is number one and number two.”

is there supposed to be a “no” somewhere in that sentence?

31
Mike from Colombia

James, is it unusual that Rosberg has informed journalists about his contact clause?

On a separate note. It is important to remember that the engines and gearboxes have to last for multiple races.

It is not in the interests of the team if the drivers to race if the total team points position remains unchanged. Why put extra stress on the engines and gearboxes, knowing that it would be better to stroke them to the finish and preserve their life for the next races?

James, what do you actually think the situation is?

32

@James

You have a typo in this sentence:

“I am very confident that there is number one and number two. Extremely confident. But you can also answer that question yourself in a few weeks’ time or months’ time.”

🙂

33

I wonder why we are so engrossed with the number 1 or 2 stuff. It isn’t in either Rosbergs or Lewis contracts.

In the last couple of weeks, British ex-driver after British ex-driver has come out to claim that Lewis is number one at Merc. It is more a national wish than borne out by legal fact. We all want the British guy to be number one, but lets not jinx Lewis and lets not be unfair to Rosberg who is no slouch either.

34

A large number of ex-drivers have actually come out to say they never liked team orders and although they would probably obey and don’t think it’s possible to rid the sport of them realistically, they don’t want to be on the receiving end – so they’re effectively supporting Rosberg in that statement.

I don’t think it’s British bias at work there. I think a lot of people are uncomfortable with team orders – even knowing they are part and parcel of this sport – it is difficult to get your head around a sport which has teams that go racing but also have those teams members actively trying to beat the other side of the same garage.

I think Lewis has been given defacto number one status simply due to money reasons. Sponsors will prefer to see Hamilton winning rather than Rosberg (i’m sure they’d love 1-2’s mostly, but if it’s a choice, they’ll take the heaviest investment for a return on image rights).

35

How do ‘we’ know what is or isn’t in either contract?

36

Because Ross Brawn, Lewis and Rosberg all say so. Even more, Lewis reaction to the team order was telling too; he is not a man that wants unfair advantage.

That is not to say though that the Merc board does not prefer him. We’ve had several glowing words from Ross Brawn already. Here is what Toto Wolff had to say:

“Lewis not only has an immense driving talent, but a great technical understanding.

“He also has the right feel for the staff and how to motivate them. After the first two days of testing, he knew all 50 team members at the track by name.

“The image of him that is sometimes drawn by the media does not correspond to reality,” insisted Wolff.

Wolff admitted, however, that with all the changes come higher expectations.

“We have been brought in to turn the team around,” he said, referring also to Lauda, “and if we cannot (do that), we’re gone.

“But I’m convinced we can, and the board knows what resources and time we need.”

http://www.f1-fansite.com/f1-news/toto-wolff-hamilton-helps-mercedes-to-shed-old-f1-image/

Thats seriously effervescent!

If indeed Merc have seen gold in Lewis, then any number one/two standing would be unofficial, just like it was with Mika and Coulthard at McLaren. Lets wait and see. Time will tell.

37

Being No. 2 is hardly likely to bring one a WDC either…

38

Being no 1 in a team does not guarantee the WDC.

39

He wouldn’t want an unfair advantage? to win the world championship? are you really so sure about that?

40

I don’t see why any team would allow a number one or number two standing to be placed in a contract. It is not necessary since the contracts have (I assume) a clause that demands a driver follow team instructions.

Does anyone know of any confirmed, and I mean a link to a copy of the actual contract, situation where this type of contract has been executed?

41

Rosberg is in a team sponsored by a massive Malaysian based company, which has just spent about 19 times his salary on a former world champion and probably the biggest name in the sport (whether justified or not). If he thinks that sponsor wanted to see him rather than Hamilton on the podium, he’s not as smart as everyone thinks.

I think Rosberg is that smart. He knows he’s been relegated by the realities of the money situation. He’s setting up his best Mark Webber defence which is to make it tricky for the team to overtly favour Hamilton all the time – as in the public perception that will harm Hamilton as much as it harms Vettel.

The difference is Hamilton knows it too. He is far more aware of his global brand perception than Vettel – who genuinely doesn’t seem to care about being liked in the slightest any more.

If Hamilton feels his public image is being tarnished by Mercedes favouritism, he might actively resist it. Which is Rosberg’s best bet.

Hamilton’s best bet is just to beat Rosberg as often as he can fair and square. He has a very loyal and (a few) obsessed fanbase. But even some of them might start to baulk at his achievements if it looks to be handed on a silver platter.

42

You think drivers want to be ‘liked’?

43

I think Hamilton is a savvy businessman that has hired even more savvy businessmen to ensure that he maximizes his earning potential. Some day Hamilton might not be able to race F1 cars and he knows that. Yes I am very impressed with Mr. Hamilton.

44

No, I think Lewis Hamilton and Lewis Hamilton’s image management team want ‘Brand Hamilton’ to be globally liked as epitomising youth and racing prowess – not as a paid to win at the handicapping of a team-mate.

This has nothing to do with what reality is, or whether drivers want to be ‘liked’ – it is about money and image.

As I said, Rosberg wants to be equal. The team would prefer their massive investment in their star coup signing to pay off, as would the sponsors. My point is Rosberg’s only got two options – either beat Hamilton by such a margin that team orders don’t rear their heads against him again or b – make it so uncomfortable for Lewis’ global image that his team-mate won’t want team orders impacting on his brand.

This is exactly the same sort of scenario David Beckham had, when players knew he couldn’t lash out again as it would tarnish his global reputation as part of the Beckham Brand Building.

45

I can’t reply to James:

“Aren’t all Top Tier sports nowadays?

Seen much NBA, Champions League etc?”

Nope, not seen any of that…

46

Very good points.

It’s such a shame that this ‘Brand’ nonsense has made its way into F1 and that it’s all about money and image.

47

Aren’t all Top Tier sports nowadays?

Seen much NBA, Champions League etc?

48

What Rosberg is referring to here is that Mercedes haven’t got an arrangement in place similar to the one seen at Ferrari where a number 2 driver knows from the very start that he’s main goal is to help the number 1 driver win the championship.

So yeah, currently, the Mercedes drivers are free to race themselves (till the last pit stops) but over time when a pattern in performance begins to develop as the season wears on, that driver ahead in the standings will become the defacto team leader.

And yes, Rosberg’s explanation makes sense as to why he was confused in Malaysia >>> team orders hadn’t been discussed beforehand.

Now having seen how Nico handled himself during the race and afterwards, I can see the Lewis-Rosberg partnership working very well together and getting the team some good points for as they say in life >>> you should always marry your friend.

Meanwhile, very funny that Rosberg had an equal status contract with Schumi around.

Perhaps Schumi has always had equal status with his former teammates, which is very different from what some fans have always been saying.

49

Is that so well how come Ferrari did this When MS was around .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNWbvgHhngg

50
Bring Back Murray

(Rosberg) “says he is confident that he and team-mate Lewis Hamilton have equal status”

He needs to come back from the land of the faries and back to reality!

51

Sadly I think this situation could develop into a Red Bull situation later down the line which is not too dissimilar to Hamilton had with Alonso in 2007.

52

I hope this wasnt the incident where Nico became the next Massa. We all know how Ross likes team orders.. Im sure Irvine, Rubens, and Felipe all dreamed of much more when they were young kids. Stand up for yourself Nico, the way you rolled over the following day with that PR speach about playing for the team was quite telling, and in complete contrast to your comments over the team radio. Don’t let them beat you down.

53
Bring Back Murray

I guess that depends on what Hamilton has got written in his contact doesn’t it. Surely he must have some advantage over Nico, otherwise he would not have signed.

54

“I am very confident that there is number one and number two.”

I assume there is a “no” missing in there somewhere…

55

Or he feels he’s the no.1 and Lewis is the no.2 😀

56

James shouldn’t this say ‘I am confident that there is NO number one and no number two’?

Anyway, not surprising news as before the ‘hold off’ call from Brawn, Nico overtook Lewis twice before getting re-overtaken. They clearly are allowed to fight.

57

Yes there is

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