Nico Rosberg has urged that he has no intention whatsoever of giving up on F1 2010 in order to focus on a better season for Mercedes Grand Prix in 2011 – contending that 'if [Lewis] Hamilton fails just once and I win', he will be instantly back in the fight.
Earlier on in the campaign, Rosberg sat second to defending world champion Jenson Button in the title standings, and off the back of a front row start in Malaysia and back-to-back podium finishes in Sepang and Shanghai – not to mention a clear upper hand over record-breaking team-mate Michael Schumacher – things were looking good and the young German was even being touted as a potential dark horse for the title.
Since the Chinese Grand Prix in mid-April, however, the recently-turned 25-year-old has failed to take the chequered flag any higher than fifth as Mercedes has fallen increasingly from the pace and arguably been overtaken in performance terms by Renault, Force India and possibly even Williams. Valencia last weekend marked the first time all season that neither Rosberg nor Schumacher made the top ten in qualifying – with the former, indeed, only just scraping the final point for tenth place in the race itself.
The Brackley-based outfit's team principal Ross Brawn has conceded that he will now 'reflect, assess and see what the next steps should be' after the significant upgrade package introduced for the European Grand Prix – comprising a Red Bull Racing-style blown diffuser and exhaust layout, reckoned to provide a substantial boost in terms of speed – failed to deliver the goods.
Rosberg, however, insists that to abandon development on the MGP W01 in favour of instead concentrating on next year's car is not the answer, arguing that such is the level of competition in 2010, just a few small improvements could see Mercedes right back in the mix once again.
“I am absolutely against that [giving up on 2010],” the son of 1982 F1 World Champion Keke Rosberg told German publication Sport Bild
, despite now languishing some 52 points adrift of McLaren-Mercedes' championship leader Hamilton in the chase for the crown. “I still believe in my chances. If Hamilton fails just once and I win, I will almost be at his level.
“We still have plenty of opportunities to develop the car further. For example, other top teams have things on their cars that we can still develop fairly easily. That is what we are doing.”