Nico Rosberg must accept some of the blame for his failure to translate the promise he has shown in Formula 1 into on-track results rather than seeking to hide behind the excuse of Williams' lack of competitiveness, argues esteemed former designer Gary Anderson.
It is conventional wisdom within the grand prix paddock that Rosberg's progress has been chronically held back by a succession of below-par machinery since he made his debut in the top flight as the reigning inaugural GP2 Series Champion three years ago. Over that time, the young German has notched up just a brace of podiums – in Australia and Singapore last season – and a scant 41 points, causing his once highly promising career to stall.
There were overtures from McLaren-Mercedes at the end of 2007 when the Woking-based concern unexpectedly needed a replacement for double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso – but Sir Frank Williams fervently blocked that move, well aware that Rosberg was one of his team's star assets and trump cards.
The son of 1982 title-winner Keke Rosberg, however, has handed his team an ultimatum that should the new FW31 not prove up to the job in 2009 – in much the same way as its predecessors have flattered only ultimately to deceive – then he will be out of there. Anderson, though, reckons the 23-year-old would also do well to take a look in the mirror.
“He must look at other drivers – [Heikki] Kovalainen, [Sebastian] Vettel, [Lewis] Hamilton and these guys coming in who were at the same sort of level – and see that he's suddenly got left behind,” the Irishman told Crash.net Radio
“When he's had the opportunity he's thrown it away too often as well, so if I was Nico Rosberg I wouldn't just be pointing the finger at Williams. Yes, the car hasn't been as competitive as it needs to be, but when it was competitive it's been put in the barrier a few times and mistakes have happened. There are equal rights for blame there, I think.
“He needs to either buckle down and work with what he's got, or there has to be a move made next year. As we've seen with GP2, though, there's a good feeder series there with drivers that should have an opportunity – and he came from it. He's got to realise that actually it's not easy to move teams within Formula 1 because there's always somebody saying 'well, why didn't you make it?' and 'there's somebody else here who looks as though he might, so let's give them a chance'.
“I think if he doesn't do it this year we could see him disappearing under, because if Williams don't pull in the money they need then they're going to need a driver that has some money, and Rosberg's above paying for his drive, to be honest. He's sitting on a see-saw at the moment, and he needs to make sure that he gets it working for him.”
The reference to money comes in the wake of the recent announcement made by chief Williams backer the Royal Bank of Scotland that it is to end its sponsorship of the Grove-based outfit when its current three-year agreement expires at the end of 2010.