Nico Rosberg has played down suggestions that he may be headed for Ferrari - or any other F1 frontrunner - in the next few years by insisting that he is ideally placed to take up the mantle as Mercedes team leader.
The young German would have had that idea in mind when he signed for the team in its first season after emerging from the championship-winning Brawn outfit in 2010, but was then partnered by the returning Michael Schumacher, with little more than parity on offer thereafter. Even though he has, for the most part, out-performed his seven-time champion team-mate, Rosberg knows that he is unlikely to ever be considered a number one until Schumacher once again heads into retirement.
"You have to learn to be patient,” the 26-year old told Britain's Daily Telegraph
newspaper ahead of the Korean GP, one week after watching compatriot Sebastian Vettel claim a second world title, “I am a patient person, I don't get frustrated. Our sport is very unique, [as] you depend so much on the technology that you have. For the majority of people out there, it is difficult to understand that. They just see someone winning and think he must be the best driver but, often, that is not the case.”
Insisting that he is not pre-occupied with how long it is taking to claim his first F1 race win - he has started 105 races now - Rosberg believes that it is Mercedes, rather than potential suitors like Ferrari and Red Bull, that will help him achieve that goal.
“You can see it in everything we are doing,” he claimed, “Mercedes are in the background and they are pushing flat out. We are signing new engineering talent. Whatever it takes. And we have Ross leading it all and he has been there and done it before. That is one of the great positions I am in. I can lead — or help to lead — this team to wins and championships. And, as a German, to drive for the Silver Arrows is very, very special."
Thinking longer term, the role of team leader also appeals to Rosberg and, again, he knows that he is in the ideal place to achieve that, whereas both Ferrari and Red Bull already have clear number ones.
“The other thing that is special is that I know that this team is betting on me, counting on me to deliver once I have the car to do so," he pointed out, "And I'm very confident that I will be able to. I just have to be patient.
“Michael, of course, isn't getting any younger so, theoretically, it is all set up perfectly for me here. I feel I have matured a lot as a person."