Nico Rosberg

According to German reports, Nico Rosberg looks set to follow in Fernando Alonso’s footsteps by locking himself into a long-term deal with his current employer.

An article in the Sport Bild newspaper claims that the 25-year-old is set to sign a five-year deal worth €80 million in total to remain with Mercedes GP.

Rosberg is earning high praise from his peers, including Lewis Hamilton, against whom he has raced since his early teens.

“[Rosberg] is about to burst through and he will at any time,” Hamilton told Spain’s El Pais newspaper.

Rosberg himself is not denying the contract extension rumours, replying: “What I can say is that I’m really happy where I am. It remains my dream to succeed with the Silver Arrows.”

Meanwhile, Mercedes GP has all but admitted that its 2011 challenger, the W02, is not up to scratch, with team boss Ross Brawn already talking up next year’s car, telling reporters it will be “excellent”.

With the first year under Mercedes’ full ownership having proven difficult last year, hopes were high that the Brackley-based team would produce a race-winning car in 2011.

“We had to squeeze out pretty much everything to win the championship [as Brawn GP]in 2009, and we paid the price for that [in 2010],” Brawn told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

“We have all the elements we need to have an excellent car next season.” he added.

That excuse might have washed for the 2010 car, but it’s proving less easy to swallow in 2011…

[Original image via Sutton Images]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.