Nico Rosberg is still refusing to think about claiming his first Formula 1 drivers’ championship in 2016 despite moving into a 33-point lead at the top of the standings after winning the Japanese Grand Prix.
Rosberg converted pole position into victory on Sunday at Suzuka with a measured display as title rival and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton finished third.
The result saw Rosberg put another 10 points between himself and Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, leaving the gap at 33 with four races to go.
Rosberg can now afford to finish second to Hamilton in all of the remaining rounds and still win the title, but the German is still refusing to think about championship victory.
“Nope, still not, still a long way to go,” Rosberg told NBCSN when asked if he was thinking about the title year.
“Lewis is still my teammate. I always need to reckon with him because he will be fighting hard now in the remaining races of course.
“In Austin, it’s going to be a good battle. I’m sure it’s going to be exciting.
“For me it’s just now going to Austin and I’ll try to win there as well.”
Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.
The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).
It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).
Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.
The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.
“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”
“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”