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Rosbergs join the Hills in two-generation World Champ club

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The Formula 1 World Championship-winning club is an exclusive one, with only 33 drivers in the sport’s history having ever won one from 1950 through now in 2016.

But an even more exclusive club is the list of fathers and sons who have both won a World Championship.

Until Sunday, the list was Graham and Damon Hill. Graham won his first in 1962 and added a second in 1968, while Damon broke through in what turned out to be his fourth and final season with Williams in 1996.

Now, Nico Rosberg has matched Keke Rosberg’s title as well. Keke won his in 1982… with Williams… while Nico won his first on Sunday for Mercedes in 2016. Keke Rosberg is also the first father alive to see his son claim a World Championship.

The first post Nico Rosberg made on Twitter after winning his title was a film thanking his parents, which you can see below.

The elder Rosberg, meanwhile, broke a self-imposed, near seven-year media silence Sunday in Abu Dhabi once he arrived at the circuit. The 67-year-old Finn had tried to maintain a lower profile in the interim, thus allowing Nico’s career to speak for itself.

Rosberg, who only won one race in the turbulent 1982 season en route to his first and only championship, hailed what his son did as the greater career accomplishment.

“My wins don’t count anymore. They are such a long time ago, I could have been a dentist,” Keke Rosberg joked, via The Guardian.

“For me, it is all about Nico and his performance and his success now. It is a family sport and he knows what it means to me and what it means to him.”

He added that he thinks that given the weight is off his shoulders, Nico could be even better next year.

“I don’t know if the dynamic changes, but a happy man performs better than an unhappy man,” Keke explained.

“He is going to raise the game a little bit next year like everybody does when they win the championship. Jenson [Button] did it. I did it. And that probably will happen. It goes with the game.”

How Rosberg responds in 2017 will be the measure of whether he becomes a multiple-time champion in the sport – of which there are only 16 – or is happy and content with just the one to match his dad.

‘Game-changing’ multi-year agreement will take INDYCAR, NBC Sports ‘to the next level’


NEW YORK – As the fourth Nor’easter in three weeks bore down on the Big Apple, it was tough to spot people that were clearly in a good mood.

But Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, was clearly in a good mood.

On Wednesday morning at 10 am ET, we all found out why: NBC will become the exclusive home of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, starting in 2019.

The new three-year deal not only makes “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” part of the network’s “Championship Season” – its collection of high-profile championship events from May to July – but also reaffirms NBC’s status as the home of motorsports television in the United States.

That status is something Miller doesn’t take for granted.

“It’s important people know that storytelling is in our DNA, and motorsports lends itself very well to storytelling,” Miller said as he, INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles and driver James Hinchcliffe made a snowy trek to the New York Stock Exchange to promote the deal on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“We’ve had great success with the second half of the entire NASCAR season, and then we’ve had half of the IndyCar package [since 2009] … But we never had the real meat of the series and that didn’t set anybody up for success.

“Having the entire package of IndyCar now – all 17 races, qualifying, practice, you name it – really sets IndyCar on a strong path and solidifies NBC’s position as the home of motorsports. I think it becomes a property much like the Premier League, the NHL, and even the Olympics and the Triple Crown. We have 100 percent of the media opportunity and we can put all those great assets behind it.”

With the storm no doubt keeping some traders home, the floor of the NYSE was relatively subdued. But that made it no less important to be at the heart of Wall Street. Miles and his team are pursuing a new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series to replace Verizon, which will fully focus its efforts in the series with the powerhouse Team Penske going forward in 2019.

The new deal – which includes 8 races per year on the NBC network (with the remaining races going to NBCSN), live streaming of all races, and a direct-to-consumer package with NBC Sports Gold – gave Miles plenty to push for any potential backers. As for Hinchcliffe, he held his own nicely in an interview that also explored IndyCar’s global ambitions, the impact of technology on the sport, and of course, his spin around the ballroom on “Dancing with the Stars.”

On the ride back to 30 Rock, Miles was confident that NBC can play a big role in attracting a sponsor that can help the series keep growing.

“With respect to our work in finding the best title sponsor, it’s really important – and this has not been talked about much – but we expect to work with hand in glove with NBC’s sales,” he explained. “We have the opportunity to create packages which are both broadcast sponsorship and series sponsorship, I think, in a way that doesn’t come along very often.

“Usually, the media deal and the sponsorship deal doesn’t align like this, so we’re really excited about the offering we’ll have and the approach to the market we can take.”

Should the partnership with NBC bear fruit on that front and others, it will only add to the upswing that the IndyCar Series has had in recent years.

Hinchcliffe has been a witness to that. He entered the series in 2011, when it was trying to find its footing after the sport’s reunification three years earlier. After 13 years of CART vs. the Indy Racing League, getting everything back under one roof was not a smooth process.

But fast-forward seven years, and things have changed for the better. TV ratings and digital viewers have gone up. Race scheduling has become more stable and enhanced with the return of traditional open-wheel markets. And this year’s debut of the universal aero kit aims to pump up the action on the track, while also giving the cars a cleaner, meaner look.

Now, with NBC all in, Hinchcliffe is bullish on his sport’s future.

“This is a game-changing thing for us,” he declared. “If you look at the last four or five years, we’ve seen a steady growth in pretty much every measureable metric that there is – in a time where, globally, motorsports is in a bit of a downturn.

“The fact that IndyCar was able to rally against a global dip in motorsports interest, attendance, sponsorship – it speaks volumes to what we have been doing and this is just gonna take us to that next level.”