Nico Rosberg: “Schumacher is number 1, the best”
18 January, 2010
Jan.18 (GMM) Nico Rosberg says he agreed to switch to the Brackley based team in 2010 long before he knew Mercedes GP and Michael Schumacher would headline the project.
“I was in contact with several other teams. With Ross Brawn, it (the talks) started long ago, in the summer of 2009,” he told the French newspaper La Tribune.
“At the time, the team was still Brawn GP. I signed with them in the hope that Mercedes would come, and I was not disappointed,” said the 24-year-old German, who spent the first four seasons of his F1 career with Williams.
Asked to point out some of the differences between the two teams he has worked with, Rosberg explained: “There are lots of similarities between the two.
“It’s just in some areas at Mercedes they’re a notch above. They push more boundaries (than Williams),” he added.
While he was aware of the likelihood of a Mercedes deal, meanwhile, Rosberg admits he was surprised when it became clear he would likely be Schumacher’s teammate for the seven time world champion’s F1 return.
“I knew there were negotiations, but I knew it was happening for sure only just before it was official. And then it was something so incredible that, until the actual signing, you still weren’t sure!”
Rosberg insists he welcomes Schumacher’s return, despite numerous commentators debating whether the German is right to resume his record-setting career.
“His passion is driving, he’s coming back to his passion — who cares about the rest?” he said. “He is doing what he wants, and the most important thing in life is to have fun.”
He also clarified his recent comments about preferring Mika Hakkinen over Schumacher.
Asked by La Tribune to name F1′s best ever driver, Rosberg answered: “Schumacher is number 1. Then I think you can put Ayrton Senna and Fangio.
“Of those three, my favourite is Senna. I often talk about Mika Hakkinen, but he is not one of the all time best. He’s just someone I like very much.”
Meanwhile it is reported that Rosberg will give the 2010 Mercedes GP car its maiden outing at Valencia on 1 February, team boss Ross Brawn has confirmed.
“Nico will drive the new car first,” Brawn told the German newspaper Bild.
“That is the way we planned it from the outset, even before Michael (Schumacher) came to the team,” the Briton added.
Schumacher, 41, will also drive at the first test of the pre-season.