Berger: Rosberg keen to stay at Mercedes, but must remain firm in talks

© Getty Images
1 Comment

Gerhard Berger believes that Nico Rosberg must remain firm in negotiations with Mercedes over a new contract despite wanting to remain with the team.

Rosberg’s current deal with Mercedes expires at the end of this season, having last signed an extension back in 2014.

Speculation has been rife about the current Formula 1 championship leader’s future in recent weeks, with reports in the Italian press linking him with a possible move to Ferrari.

Over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, it was revealed that Rosberg has brought in ex-F1 driver and team owner Gerhard Berger to help with negotiations.

In an interview with the official F1 website, Berger spoke about his role with Rosberg, revealing that he only came on board earlier this month.

“It was pretty simple: I have known Nico since he was a little boy, as I raced against his dad Keke for years,” Berger explained.

“Last week both contacted me to see if I could do them a favor and negotiate Nico’s new contract, as he wants to fully concentrate on the championship. I said, ‘Of course!’ It’s kind of a friendly turn.”

Berger confirmed that both parties are keen to extend the deal, but said that Rosberg needs to remain firm to ensure he is happy with the agreement.

“I think everybody understands the other’s position: Mercedes wants to keep Nico and Nico wants to stay with Mercedes,” Berger said.

“But, of course, there has to be a firm view in the details – a rigid setting of the scene.

“To be honest it would really surprise me if we also started to negotiate with another team.

“But you never know. Clearly Mercedes is the first address for us.”

Berger admitted that an offer from Ferrari could be attractive to Rosberg, but does not expect him to accept a slower car than the one he is currently in.

“It is probably true from an emotional point of view that Nico would be flattered,” Berger said.

“But what is paramount in all negotiations and considerations is who can provide the best car on the grid – and that definitely is Mercedes.”

Word in the Monaco paddock was that Mercedes had only offered Rosberg a one-year extension that would take him to the end of 2017, while the German driver was keen to get a longer deal signed up.

Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda said earlier this week that he wanted Rosberg to sign a new contract in the next three weeks so that the team could fully focus on its bid for both championships.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
0 Comments

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III