Rosberg will have to fight for his Mercedes drive


Here we go again. We’ve learned that Mercedes AMG F1 and their driver contract negotiations are not something resolved quickly. Toto Wolff threatened Lewis Hamilton with being replaced by Bottas earlier this year, as the discussions over the extension to the Brit’s contract dragged on and on.

It appears Nico Rosberg will suffer a similar fate. His contract to drive for Mercedes expires at the end of next season and Toto Wolff tells Autosport today that it may be some time before they agree any extension.

“The line-up is a great one,” says Wolff. Both of them [Lewis and Nico] are a major part of the team and responsible for getting the team to where we are today. But it’s early days to discuss that [Rosberg’s contract]. I want to see how the season pans out.

“There are areas we want to develop altogether as a team, and let’s see how that goes.”

Wolff recently made it public that he was concerned about how the drivers’ relationship could be affecting the team. There is no love lost between Rosberg and Hamilton despite them growing up together in karting as rivals but friends. The Mercedes boss has threatened a driver line up change if things don’t improve, though the majority of the British press decided this was more a shot across Hamilton’s bows than Rosberg’s.

Toto Wolff recognises there will be tension between his drivers, given the fact they both have the best equipment and better chances than others to claim F1 driver titles. “It’s understandable because they are fighting in a car that is capable of winning the championship against each other.

“The guy in the other car cannot be your friend, but we need to be careful that it doesn’t spill over on both sides of the garage. We’ve seen teams in the past where there is a competition being created that is not good for the dynamics within the team.”

As if he didn’t need any incentive, Nico Rosberg now knows he is not just racing for a title, but possibly an extension to his 6 years with the Mercedes F1 team.

17 responses to “Rosberg will have to fight for his Mercedes drive

  1. Enough already, these guys just won the championship and were 1st and 2nd in the overall driver ranking. Toto is already preparing to through one or both under the bus. He may himself face being replaced in his current role. Enough with the warnings and Driver talk let them have their Christmas break and new year. The team this and the team that. Give it a rest.

    • Interesting point. Toto has not exactly covered himself with glory over the last year seemingly rubbing a lot of people up the wrong way and I could see the Mercedes board looking for a change of style. At one point I though that Lauda would have to go but maybe they would keep one or the other and it’s like the old argument about not playing John Terry and Steven Gerrard in the same England footy team!

        • Sorry, and thanks for the correction – I’m not much of a footy fan – I had vaguely remembered the arguments and people seemed to take it very seriously!

      • There is no doubt that competition between the two drivers is healthy for the team. They are pushing each other to drive better and better. The job of the team principle is to ensure this doesn’t get out of hand and they don’t end up hitting each other. So far it seems Toto has done exactly that. I can only thing of one occasion when it has boiled over and one took the other off (or at least gave him a puncture).

        Nico and Hamilton may not be good friends anymore, and there clearly is some animosity between them, but most people seem to think that this is what has spurred Rosberg into discovering a way to beat Hamilton again at the end of the season. So I would argue that Toto has got it exactly right.

      • LOL, good one. I needed that. +1

        RE: Rosberg / Marquez sympathiser

        I thought Kylo Rosberg signed a 3 or 5 year mega-deal at Monaco in ’14, thus taking him to ’18 as a minimum.

        Wasn’t that the glorious Rosbergian weekend, getting engaged (or married), getting a nice big Mercedes contract, winning Monaco and finding a new hair stylist that made a cut which helped him flipped his hair just right?

        My ’14 Monaco memories might not be completely rooted in fact, so please correct me, but I was sure he was a Silver Arrow “operator” for ’16 and ’17 at the very least, if not further.

        Of course, I’m aware of the value of a contract in F1. I don’t need to be reminded that they’re oft used as toilet paper.


        (Seriously, go see it.)

          • Thanks, Fortis. The speculation makes sense now. It was just a standard 2+1 contract. No idea where I got ‘5 years’ from.

          • I’ve read that Nico’s contract is up end of 2016. Don’t pick up option and bring in a young driver (Merc has a bunch) and just designate Lewis as the lead driver and #2 should just collect points and go for win if the opportunity arises. Like Rubens did for Shumi. End of conflicts.

  2. “As if he didn’t need any incentive, Nico Rosberg now knows he is not just racing for a title, but possibly an extension to his 6 years with the Mercedes F1 team.”
    Almost as if Toto knows that Nico ain’t gonna win a championship, so he’s found a new way to keep him motivated. All things being equal, if he hasn’t found it within himself to put together a serious championship challenge with the equipment at his disposal for the last couple of years there isn’t much to suggest that he’s going to suddenly develop the ruthlessness needed over the winter (it might have been better if he’d lost the last few races, as now Lewis is the more motivated of the two – if he’d breezed the final 3 races he may have spent more of the break kicking back and eating pies).
    Looks like Toto has a solid number 2 in Nico, but he’s going to need to be a stronger rear gunner next year, or else Vettel will have that second podium spot, thank you very much, leaving Lewis and Mercedes’ titles hopes exposed to a potentially pouncing horse should their number 1 have any technical issues.
    It’s a perennial problem with number 2’s, if they’re good enough for regular points scoring and frequent wins. Every few years they have a bit of a slump and they then receive a gentle kick up the arse, coupled with some platitudes regarding their title hopes, then they settle down for a while. (See : Massa, Barichello, but most definitely not Irvine!).
    The demotivation is cumulative, however, and eventually either affects their results so badly that the team replace them, or they blame the team for their lack of success and move to a new team, where their improved performance confirms that belief, even if it’s more likely to be down to the high motivation and confidence that a change of circumstances can bring about.

  3. So next season Nico needs to perform better than he has ever done in his entire career so as to win a WDC, ad into that Toto’s comments. No pressure at all Nico, none at all.

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