Despite having recently suggested that should Williams not dramatically up its game in 2009 he will be out of there [see separate story - click here], Nico Rosberg has insisted that he is fully committed to the former multiple world championship-winning outfit and believes in their ability to bounce back next year.

The 2008 Formula 1 campaign was one of slim pickings for Rosberg and Williams, with the young German - only two years ago widely tipped as a future world champion in-waiting - ascending the podium in both Australia and Singapore, but notching up a meagre total of a mere three points elsewhere.

Seven top ten qualifying performances were far more a reflection of Rosberg's ability to transcend the abilities of his car than of the inherent pace of the FW30, but equally there were three occasions on which he failed to make it even beyond Q3, and all too many grands prix in which he drove his heart out for no reward. It was, he acknowledges, an overwhelmingly 'overcast season'.

"It obviously was a very disappointing season for me in general," he told the official Formula 1 website. "I had high hopes with the team, especially after 2007. I really thought that we would be able to carry the momentum into '08 and continue to improve, but it wasn't to be.

"I am thankful that on occasion my car was okay and I was able to show that I can still drive a race car, which is important as you need to keep your reputation. On these occasions I was able to put some highlights into my overcast season, which was nice, but in general it was quite disappointing. We simply were not fast enough.

"You can't really compare the past with the situation in the team today as we have completely new people, but you can compare to recent years. Four or five years ago [Juan-Pablo] Montoya was still winning and Williams had the best car on the grid.

"Last year we were the fifth-best team on the grid, so of course I am a bit disappointed with our '08 performance, especially with the development through the year. We didn't progress as much as we should have. The development went wrong from the beginning, and although everybody was pushing so hard to make it a good year it was not meant to be.

"Once it went wrong this year it was very difficult to catch up, even though we started to understand and really get to the bottom of the problem. It was difficult to turn things around - we tried, but we haven't been able to pull the big turnaround. Once you have taken the wrong path the others are continuing to develop and it was not possible to close the gap, even after we understood the problem.

"Sure I am looking for answers and I've tried to help them find answers, but it is difficult. We think we understand pretty well [what went wrong], we learned a lot and I am sure what we experienced this year will help us for next year."

Indeed, after planning to 'take it easy' over the winter, Rosberg's entire focus now is on the 2009 F1 campaign, when he hopes what should be a more level playing field - thanks to the radical new aerodynamic and technical regulations - will help Williams to regain some ground on its rivals.

The 23-year-old is clearly keen to get behind the wheel of the new FW31 in January, and is hopeful it may be the car that finally enables him to show what he is truly capable of in the top flight. Adamant that he has never lost belief in himself, the inaugural GP2 Series Champion is also forthright in his assertion that nor has he lost faith in his team.

"I always follow the development of a new car very closely," he explained, "especially with so many new regulations waiting in the wings. I am very anxious to hear how it's going. Actually I saw the car last January, or even December - around about ten months ago - and it will be interesting to see the changes when I go back to the factory to follow up.

"At the moment it is looking good, but what does that mean? Absolutely nothing, because you have no idea what the others are doing, so it's not even worth mentioning. In Barcelona we were able to put some mileage on the car - we had quite a few things on the car for next year and we've tried some general things too, as you can start to learn about the tyres.

"Although it was this year's car and this year's aerodynamics, we've been running with such low downforce that it represents what it will be like next year. It's not exact but you can start to try fundamental things like how the tyres work, learning about them step-by-step, because new tyres are always very complex to understand.

"I haven't given up on the team, not at all. I am still very motivated and it would be the greatest for me if I could help this team to some good success. Going back to the 'glory days' will be a bit difficult in the situation nowadays, but still to have some good success would be a very nice thing for me."

Admitting that running around in the mid-to-rear of the field is 'something that you have to get used to', Rosberg is equally clear that his determination to follow in the wheeltracks of close friend and former junior formulae sparring partner Lewis Hamilton and lift the sport's ultimate trophy continues to burn every bit as brightly as ever.

The son of 1982 F1 World Champion Keke Rosberg has remained loyal to Williams for longer than most believe he should have - now he just hopes that fidelity will be rewarded in terms of on-track results, and sooner rather than later.

"Next year the cars are going to be completely spread out again because everybody starts from zero, so I will tell you halfway through next year if I regret it or not," he mused. "It would be fantastic if the team could change their course. All these years you just build on the car that you had the year before, copy other people and try to improve more than others - but now it's a different game because everybody starts from zero, with a completely new concept.

"I hope that the people at Williams can take advantage of this situation; that would be great. I am not asking for a world championship-winning car, just a car that gives me the opportunity to finish in the points consistently - and a couple of podiums would be the icing on the cake. The chances are there, for sure. Should '09 not turn out as I hope it will, then naturally I will have to re-think my position for 2010.

"Every time I went out racing I had the chance to win, and now it's been three years where I go out and know that there is no way I can win or even come close. It's a difficult thing, but that's the way F1 is and I accepted that only four people have the chance to win every race and you just have to do your best and keep on getting stronger - and hopefully one day you become one of those four people.

"I am a better driver now than I have ever been. I believe in myself and I am convinced that I have what it takes to get to the very top. It just seems I have to be a bit patient..."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment