Heartache of 2014 defeat motivates Rosberg for new season

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Nico Rosberg may be heading into the 2015 Formula 1 season as the underdog, but he has said that the heartache of his championship defeat in Abu Dhabi last year will motivate him for the new campaign.

Rosberg went toe-to-toe with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton for the championship last year, but ultimately lost out by 67 points following his retirement at the final double score round in Abu Dhabi.

The German driver said that he feels rejuvenated following the winter break, and is motivated for the season ahead as he looks to avoid a repeat of his title defeat in 2015.

“It’s been a great winter, although it has actually seemed very long to me,” Rosberg said. “The lucky thing about this sport as a driver is that you get a lot of down time between each season to rest, recharge, spend time with the family and really hit the training hard. But now I am eager to get back to work and go maximum attack for another season.

“I know the feeling of winning and of fighting for a championship after last year – but I also know the feeling of not winning in the end and I don’t want to repeat that. It’s an extra boost and it gives me so much motivation for the year ahead.”

Rosberg also called on the team to carry the momentum it built up in 2014 through to the new season, although he does think it will be tough for Mercedes to match its record-breaking exploits of last year.

“I’m so proud to be in this moment with the team, coming off the back of a fantastic year, putting the Silver Arrows right back at the front where they belong,” Rosberg said. “It will be massively tough to repeat what we achieved in 2014 but we all want to keep that momentum going and to dominate the sport for many years to come.

“We know the opposition will be right there, so we have to keep pushing flat out to have any chance of doing that. Nothing is for certain but, whatever happens, I know it will be another great battle with Lewis. This year is the rematch for me and I’m massively motivated for it.”

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.