Some might be surmising that his dream move to Mercedes Grand Prix swiftly degenerated into a nightmare when it transpired who was to be his team-mate in F1 2010, but Norbert Haug has revealed that Nico Rosberg 'has always wanted' to race in the same team as record-breaking seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
Rosberg's defection from Williams – after four seasons of admirable loyalty in the face of frustratingly fluctuating and inconsistent form from the Grove-based outfit – to the reigning double world champions was initially viewed as his break into the big-time, but when it was announced that compatriot Schumacher was to drive the sister Silver Arrow, the attention was suddenly deflected away from him again.
Whilst the team is insisting to the outside world that there will be no number one and number two driver hierarchy at Brackley in 2010, the switch of car numbers – allowing Schumacher to race his favoured No.3, and leaving Rosberg lumbered with the 'unlucky' No.4 [see separate story – click here
] – and close relationship between the Kerpen native and team principal Ross Brawn are already suggesting otherwise.
The son of 1982 F1 World Champion Keke Rosberg, say the sceptics, will now simply slot into a subservient supporting role, in much the same manner as did the likes of Riccardo Patrese, JJ Lehto, Jos Verstappen, Johnny Herbert, Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello – merely another lamb to the inevitable slaughter.
Not so, stresses Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Haug, who argues that if 'Schumi' has been the lead driver at F1 teams in the past, it is because he has earned it on the basis of his performance inside the car.
“Nico has found his desired configuration,” the 57-year-old told German news agency DPA
. “He has always wanted to drive [for] the Silver Arrows in Formula 1, and to have Michael Schumacher as his team-mate. That may sound like a fabulous PR statement, but it is precisely the truth.
“To be a team's number one is achieved only through extraordinary effort, and I trust that both of our drivers will give this, especially if we give them a very good car.”