After a strong winter, Nico Rosberg feels bullish about his and Mercedes’ chances heading into the new season. The biggest issue he says he and the team needs to fix is its consistency.
“Last year our biggest issue was the consistency, as we had quite good races at some places, but were not able to repeat this at other tracks,” he told the official Formula 1 website. “My impression is that this year we will see the same teams heading the grid again – the usual suspects like Red Bull and Ferrari – but I am very optimistic that we will also be up there and be able to show a much better performance than we did in 2012.”
Rosberg feels the team has closed back at least a portion of the gap to the leading runners.
“This winter has gone very well for us, and I think we are better prepared than ever,” he said. “At the end of last year we were almost one second down from the top runners, so we had to close quite a big gap. How close we really are we still have to find out, but I am very optimistic that we have made quite some progress.”
As with all teams, Mercedes will try to nail the optimum operating window with the new for 2013 Pirelli compounds.
“During the winter testing the tires had a lot of drop-off – meaning that they almost fell apart into pieces quite often – which maybe makes it more exciting for the race, but very challenging technically for the teams to set up the car in the right way.”
The biggest elephant in the room, though, for Rosberg, is the arrival of Lewis Hamilton to the team. Rosberg doesn’t expect to be watching his back, and instead expects Hamilton to push both him and the team forward.
“Sure, this pairing will also be very challenging, as Lewis is one of the best drivers out there,” he said. “We both are extremely competitive, but on the other hand we also get along privately very well. We can split the two sides of our lives quite well!”
See also: Nico Rosberg lurking in the shadows