Rosberg hopes to return to winning ways in Austria

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Nico Rosberg is hoping to return to winning ways at next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix after being forced to settle for second place last time out in Canada.

The German driver led away from pole position in Montreal, but was hit with an ERS problem on his car that saw him lose power heading down the back straight. The problem also hit teammate Lewis Hamilton, but was more severe for the Briton and forced him to retire.

Rosberg managed the issue well, only to see Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo pass him with three laps to go, meaning that Mercedes had lost a grand prix for the first time in 2014.

“Although it was a really, really tough day, I’m pleased with the result in Montreal,” he explained. “The car was strong throughout the weekend, so to have the problems we experienced in the race was not what we expected. It just goes to show that you can never be too well prepared and our priority has been to make sure the car is bullet-proof for the rest of the season.

“When you take everything into account, finishing second in that race was quite an achievement for everyone in the team. But we know we cannot afford to slip up, as our rivals are always there to take advantage.”

Rosberg is now looking ahead to next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, which returns to the calendar after eleven years away.

“I’m looking forward to the next race in Austria and a chance to get back to our winning form once again,” he said. “Although I’ve driven the circuit before, that was more than ten years ago in F3: back when it was still called the A1 Ring!

“Of course, it will be very different in a turbocharged, V6 hybrid Formula1 car, so it’s basically like starting from scratch for everyone on the grid.

“Personally, I love that kind of challenge, so I’m excited to get back in the car and go for another top result.”

Rosberg currently leads the drivers’ championship by 22 points from Hamilton, but the Briton has vowed to close the gap once again.

Brown: Dennis would have made same decision on McLaren-Honda split

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Zak Brown believes former McLaren team boss Ron Dennis would have made the same decision to cut ties with struggling Formula 1 engine partner Honda had he still been in charge at the team in 2017.

McLaren executive director Brown helped engineer a deal for the team to split with Honda at the end of the 2017 season after three tough seasons that had seen the Japanese manufacturer offer little in the way of performance or reliability.

The decision split opinion, with McLaren spurning a significant annual financial injection from Honda in order to link up with Renault, believing its on-track fortunes had to be prioritized over its commercial interests.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Brown was asked if he believed Dennis – McLaren’s long-running team chief before stepping down at the end of 2016 – would have made the same decision to cut ties with Honda.

“I think he would have,” Brown said.

“He was here when those conversations were ongoing and I think Ron always has and always will have the best interests of McLaren in his heart.

“He is Mr. McLaren. It burns him inside as much as us not to see us winning races.”

Brown also elaborated on the decision to break off the much-lauded relationship with Honda, saying the first signs of trouble with the 2017 power unit were clear in pre-season.

After a number of attempts to try and rectify the situation, Brown and his fellow team bosses felt there was no alternative but to end the Honda deal for 2018.

“We knew we were in trouble in testing in Barcelona and we worked really hard for six months to try and find solutions that would give us confidence that we’d be much more competitive in 2018,” Brown said.

“Ultimately, after trying many different things and many different ways we felt we couldn’t get there.

“Three years is a long time in Formula 1 and so we needed to change the direction to get our team back at the top.”