Nico Rosberg finds ‘strange’ Mercedes F1 struggles “difficult to understand”

Nico Rosberg doesn't understand how Mercedes are still struggling to get on top of F1's regulations.

Nico Rosberg (GER) Sky Sports F1 Presenter. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China,
Nico Rosberg (GER) Sky Sports F1 Presenter. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Nico Rosberg has labelled his former team Mercedes’ current F1 struggles “strange” and “difficult to understand”.

Rosberg drove for Mercedes during the height of their F1 domination - in which they claimed an unprecedented eight consecutive constructors’ world championships - and narrowly beat Lewis Hamilton to the world title in 2016 before retiring from the sport.

But since the introduction of major new regulations in 2022, Mercedes’ fortunes have changed dramatically, with the German manufacturer only managing one grand prix victory.

Mercedes had another disappointing result at the Chinese Grand Prix as George Russell qualified eighth, while Hamilton suffered a shock Q1 elimination and was only 18th.

“It’s so strange, and difficult, to understand how the incredible Mercedes team struggles to understand the new regulations aerodynamically, and how to get the most out of it,” Rosberg said during Sky Sports F1’s coverage of qualifying.

“It has changed a lot. Now the aerodynamics are so much more important under the car, rather than over the car. Under is far more difficult to measure in the wind tunnel, and to correlate what you find in the wind tunnel to the real world.

“But somehow they don’t get it right.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Sprint
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Analysing Mercedes’ weakness in qualifying, Karun Chandhok noted: “George looked pretty despondent. Hamilton made a mistake,” Chandhok said.

“Lewis was up, on the lap. On a decent lap. He went so deep into the hairpin and ran wide into the kerb. He lost six tenths there.

“The car performance wasn’t there, but six tenths would have put him into P5 [ahead of] Oscar Piastri, which is not bad.”

Chandhok also compared Mercedes’ performance against customer team Aston Martin, whose driver Fernando Alonso claimed a brilliant third on the grid.

“Alonso didn’t have a good run. As he starts to wind the lock on, he gets a snap of oversteer. It put him off line,” Chandhok added.

“Russell also had a snap of oversteer but not as bad. Despite the poorer run, Alonso has pulled time on Russell. He had more rotation, was able to carry more speed into the apex.

“It seems to me that the Mercedes doesn’t rotate as well in the low speed corners.

"In Turn 7, both drivers were flat-out. In terms of positioning, Russell did not quite have the grip. He didn’t have the confidence to attack. A snap of oversteer put him off line. That compromises his line.

“This means, when we get through 9 and 10, Alonso was quite clearly ahead.

“Into 10, Alonso was using less kerb. He is still able to rotate the car better, and use a tighter radius. That launches him onto the straight. I think he’s able to get onto the throttle earlier, as well, because he’s able to get through 11 and 12 with better rotation.

“On the hairpin, at the apex, Alonso was so much deeper than Russell. Because he takes a wider radius, he carries more speed, I think. It doesn’t hurt him. You can see that he’s quite a chunk ahead. Despite doing a bigger distance, he has not lost anything.

“For Russell, so much of it was lost in the first half of the lap. The Mercedes just does not seem to have the grip underneath it.”

Read More