If Nico Rosberg succeeds in getting the better of incoming Mercedes Grand Prix team-mate Michael Schumacher in F1 2010, his career will be made and he will be regarded as 'a superstar', opines ten-time grand prix-winner Gerhard Berger.
Although ex-Williams F1 ace Rosberg has asserted that his primary goal is always to beat any of his team-mates [see separate story – click here
], on paper at least, the odds appear impossibly stacked against him. Whilst Schumacher has to his name seven drivers' world championship titles, 91 grand prix victories, 154 podium finishes and a staggering 1,369 points from 16 prior seasons of top flight competition, his younger compatriot can boast just 75.5 points and a brace of rostrums from his own first four – decidedly more modest – campaigns at the highest level. Daunting, or what?
However, the seemingly thankless task might not be quite as beyond reach as some have suggested, given that not only is Schumacher returning to F1 following a three-year absence from full-time competition, but moreover he has only recently got over a recurring neck injury that prevented him from coming back last summer to substitute former Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa in the wake of the Brazilian's life-threatening Hungaroring qualifying accident. Either way, should Rosberg get the job done and see 'Schumi' off, Berger contends, his reputation will be cemented.
“For Rosberg it would just be a big achievement to hold his own against (Schumacher),” the 50-year-old former Scuderia Toro Rosso co-owner told German publication Auto Motor und Sport
. “It is not possible for him to make up for Michael's advantage in terms of experience, political ability and confidence at the first attempt.
“Michael knows how to build the team around him – and now he has his old partner Ross Brawn at his side again. If Nico can beat him anyway, he would be a superstar.”
Rosberg and Schumacher will both be amongst the drivers in attendance at the first pre-season 2010 test at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo in Valencia at the beginning of February.