Mercedes Grand Prix has finally confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets in the F1 paddock by officially unveiling Nico Rosberg as one of its two drivers for the 2010 campaign – though the identity of the man who will occupy the second cockpit remains a mystery.
Rosberg has been linked with 2009 double world champions Mercedes – formerly Brawn GP – for some time, and once it was announced that the young German would not be remaining at Williams next year, it was widely assumed that he was all-but a shoo-in to switch to Stuttgart.
The son of 1982 F1 World Champion Keke Rosberg has spent all four of his seasons in the top flight to-date with Williams, catching the eye of many observers along the way with his impressive raw pace, controlled on-track aggression, overtaking prowess and laudable consistency – and with eleven points-scoring finishes from 17 starts in 2009, he joins Mercedes off the back of his finest campaign yet.
“I am really happy to be a part of the Silver Arrows re-launch in 2010 as a driver for Mercedes,” enthused the highly-regarded 24-year-old. “No other brand in Formula 1 can look back on such a long and successful tradition in motor racing. I am very proud that I will now drive for the new Mercedes team and work with Ross Brawn. I am more motivated than ever, and can hardly wait to start testing with the new Silver Arrow and for the first race of the new season in Bahrain.”
Rosberg does have some history of his own with the three-pointed star, having competed for the Mercedes-affiliated MBM outfit between 1997 and 2000 in karts alongside 2008 F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton. Since then, he has gone on to achieve success in Formula BMW ADAC – clinching the crown in his debut season – the hotly-disputed F3 Euroseries and the feeder GP2 Series, whose title he claimed in its inaugural year in 2005.
Having already become the youngest driver ever to test an F1 car with Williams in 2002 as a reward for his Formula BMW triumph, the Wiesbaden native made his grand prix debut with the Grove-based outfit four years later, incredibly going on to set fastest lap on his maiden appearance in Bahrain.
Though Rosberg has yet to win his first race at the highest level, Mercedes Grand Prix team principal Ross Brawn and motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug are convinced that they have the right man for the job of defending their hard-fought 2009 glory.
“We are delighted to welcome Nico Rosberg to our Mercedes team and are very much looking forward to working with him,” underlined Brawn. “Nico is a great talent, and with four years of experience in Formula 1 is a driver who will be able to make a valuable contribution to our team right from the outset.
“I had the pleasure of working with his father Keke during his Formula 1 career, and it is great to see Nico following in his footsteps. 2009 was Nico's best season in Formula 1 to-date, and we look forward to seeing his development continue with us at Mercedes next year.”