Rosberg: Mercedes are “on the up”

2011 F1 testing

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Barcelona, 2011

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Barcelona, 2011

Nico Rosberg is positive about Mercedes’ improved testing performance.

Speaking to journalists in Barcelona he said “The team has done a lot of progress, it’s been great to see how much progress has come out.

“Of course we’re not there yet, we want to win the world championship and we’re not the fastest car yet. But things are going in the right direction so that’s really nice to see.”

He said the team were now finding the expected performance gains from new parts on the car: “We’re on the up. It’s been a much more difficult winter than we anticipated.

“Although it was always said that we were not going to be quick in the beginning, it was more difficult, and it’s been great to see how the team turned things around and really pushed on the new upgrades and everything.

“They managed to get them on the car and they’re working as expected which is also a big difference to last year, where very often things got on the car and they weren’t working as expected.

“Now, the theory is it’s going to be 0.4 [seconds] quicker, you put it on, and generally there’s very few issues with them and they are 0.4 quicker. So that’s nice to see.”

He added: “I just feel the handling is better, more grip and everything. That’s it, just faster, good handling, better, more fun to drive.”

Rosberg did some running in the dry yesterday in anticipation of the heavy rain which hit the track today:

The forecast was rain today and until now my preparations have been a bit unlucky in testing. Most of the issues we had were on my days.

“I was a bit behind on my preparations so it was important for me to get out again to do some proper, lower-fuel running. Stuff that’s a bit more representative of qualifying, because it wasn’t done very well yet when I was in the car.”

He said the conditions were tricky: “It’s very difficult out there, not a lot of grip. Especially on the rears you’re sliding a lot so it’s not so easy.”

And he said the team have got a good handle on the 2011 tyres: “I think the tyres we understand pretty well now.

“We learned a few things about the wet. Strategy-wise it’s going to be very interesting and probably, thanks to Pirelli, we’re going to have some very exciting races.”

Asked how many pit stops he would need in the first race he joked: “We’re planning six, probably!”

Although he wouldn’t go into details about how competitive he thinks Mercedes will be he hinted that Red Bull have the fastest car: “I think there is one team that’s clearly ahead and it’s not us at the moment. But I may be wrong.”

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22 comments on Rosberg: Mercedes are “on the up”

  1. DeadManWoking said on 12th March 2011, 18:11

    Nico should be doing rain dances this year. He did a nice job beating Maldonado and Hamilton in a 3 way shootout at the end of today’s testing.

    • Well, not necessarily. If the three of them all did a flat out qualifying sim at around the same time then you could say yes, he managed a significantly better lap. But you still need to take into account the performance of the cars each was driving. A wet track is a better car equalizer than a dry track, but it doesn’t completely level the playing field.

  2. King Six said on 12th March 2011, 18:15

    Considering how some bloke was saying how the extra 2 weeks in F1 was the equivalent to an extra 6 months development for a normal car, I’ll expect the cars to be quite different come Australia and not this Barcelona Bahrain spec. At least for the teams that bother to create upgrades. Which is hopefully, most of them.

    The Merc has the shortest wheelbase out of all the cars on the grid, should suit them nicely at Albert Park…

  3. verstappen said on 12th March 2011, 19:08

    Now, the theory is it’s going to be 0.4 [seconds] quicker, you put it on, and generally there’s very few issues with them and they are 0.4 quicker.

    Nice to read that, I hope they can keep them upgrades which are good for 04 secs coming!

  4. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 12th March 2011, 19:14

    Good to see a driver a little more relaxed about the tyre situation. Anything more than 3 stops and it will become rather silly.

    • SeattleChris said on 12th March 2011, 21:47

      We used to have the occasional four-stop races, so I wouldn’t say it would be “silly”.

      You’re on the right track though; if the entire field has to make four stops, THEN we have a problem.

      If the racing is supposed to get more exciting due to pit stops, I think the right system would require teams to decide between 3 or 4 stops. This would be enough to increase activity.

      However, with pitting, I will be watching the race on the tele and suddenly Button is upfront, or whomever, and I’ve no idea how the guy starting P3 ended up 8th after the race. I think Massa pulled off something similar in Bahrain last year, but it could have been another race.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th March 2011, 10:57

        That’s pretty much what I was getting at. The occasional pit-stop heavy race won’t be at all a bad thing, it will mix things up, but if it’s consistently that way then the race is moving towards being quite artificial. I don’t negate the talent it takes to look after tyres, but that’s excessive every race weekend.

  5. schooner said on 12th March 2011, 23:54

    “It’s only testing”, I know, but the improvements shown late in the game by Mecedes are encouraging. Maybe Ross Brawn and co. have pulled another engineering rabbit out of their hat? I am a McLaren fan at heart, but my biggest hope for the upcoming season is simply that Red Bull doesn’t make it a boring one. There have been flashes of excellent pace shown by a number of teams, so I remain optimistic that we’ll be seeing another great year of Formula 1 racing.

  6. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 13th March 2011, 2:13

    The car improved OK but is it enough for the fight with the mighty Ferrari & Red Bull?

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th March 2011, 10:58

      I would like to think so, but it’s just impossible to say at the moment. If they can keep up their rate of development then perhaps late on in the season?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th March 2011, 12:49

      Probably not, if they brought some 0.4 to the car when it was lacking about 1 second.

      A lot better though, possibly podium material again.

    • Richard said on 13th March 2011, 14:52

      got to add my bit … something I alluded to last year but the package was not suited well. Mercedes is now a Brawn-Schumacher-Roseberg package. You all know what the first two can do when they get the engineering right. And Roseberg … is definitely a podium contender given the right package. And can Mercedes engineer a winning car? I rest my case. I see lots of podiums this year.

  7. Palle said on 13th March 2011, 10:01

    Lets hope Mercedes can put some pressure on Ferrari and Red Bull, if McLaren can’t do it. I seriously think McLaren is in trouble this year – maybee quite a lot actually.

  8. Byron R said on 13th March 2011, 14:39

    “I was a bit behind on my preparations so it was important for me to get out again to do some proper, lower-fuel running. Stuff that’s a bit more representative of qualifying, because it wasn’t done very well yet when I was in the car.”

    Maybe Britney is already feeling the pressure. Go Schumi!

    • Aussie Fan said on 14th March 2011, 3:57

      He made comments like this all last year too, whenever he was behind MS. Always before being prompted too. Just a competitive guy I guess!

    • Hahaha, yes you are right Byron. Britney is in-secure when Schumi is around. Mercedes Management, media and Merc fan’s attention are with MSC. He is just a shadow of the legend. Now Haug is talking about Schumi’s contract extention and talking he must go on and on.. He’s absolutely not happy with it.. Schumi is special to the team than him IMO.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 14th March 2011, 6:21

        Doubt it. It seems like Schumi was always on glory runs when he was testing, and Rosberg felt it was high time he got in a few as well. After the hammering he gave Schumi last year, I think his confidence is high. Its very typical Rosberg style to not say much, but then get on track and let his driving do the talking.

        • They set their best times on similar-length fuel runs, so I think it’ll be a lot, lot closer than last year. Also, I remember Nico doing a lot better than Schumi in testing last year. This time, it seems Schumi is doing better than Nico (by a smaller but similar-sized margin), so we could very easily have the reverse of last year’s situation this year.

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