Far from feeling intimidated by the prospect of teaming up with F1’s most successful driver, Mercedes GP driver Nico Rosberg is actually relishing the challenge, at least according to the engine manufacturer’s chief Norbert Haug.
I don’t buy that for one minute!
Many would see Rosberg’s dream signing has quickly turned into a nightmare when the identity of his team-mate – none other than Michael Schumacher – was revealed. Not so, according to Haug, who has claimed to German news agency DPA that the son of the 1982 champion, Keke, always wanted the seven-time champion as his team-mate.
Furthermore, after four seasons toiling at Williams for scant reward, many saw Rosberg’s appointment to the defending Contructors’ champions as his much-deserved step into the major league, but with Schumacher’s appointment to drive the sister Silver Arrow, all of the attention has been focused on the return of F1’s king.
The team can insist all it wants to the outside world that equal driver status will be enforced, but the switching of car numbers in Schumacher’s favour – coupled with the lengthy relationship between the German maestro and the team’s boss Ross Brawn – would suggest otherwise.
Will Rosberg’s fate fall the same way as many of Schumacher’s other team-mates – Riccardo Patrese, Jos Verstappen, JJ Lehto, Johnny Herbert, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello – into that of the subservient number two?
Not so, stresses Haug: "Nico has found his desired configuration,” he said. “He has always wanted to drive [for] the Silver Arrows in Formula 1, and to have Michael Schumacher as his team-mate. That may sound like a fabulous PR statement, but it is precisely the truth.
“To be a team’s number one is achieved only through extraordinary effort, and I trust that both of our drivers will give this, especially if we give them a very good car.”
That the team is even having to publicly come out and say this suggests otherwise!