Friday, February 25, 2011

Nico Rosberg

Nico Erik Rosberg (born 27 June 1985 in Wiesbaden, West Germany) is a racing driver for the Mercedes GP Formula One team. He races under the German flag in Formula One, although he competed for Finland earlier in his career. He holds dual nationality of these two countries. Rosberg won the 2005 GP2 Series for the ART team, having raced in Formula Three Euroseries previously for his father's team. Rosberg joined the re-branded Mercedes team, formed by the takeover of 2009 constructors' champions Brawn GP, for the 2010 Formula One season . The son of Finnish 1982 Formula One World Champion Keke Rosberg and his wife Sina, Nico spent much of his youth in Monaco with his family, and still lives in the principality. Rosberg speaks fluent German, English, Italian, Spanish and French; but only a little Finnish, though he is learning the language. In lower formulae drivers race under the nationality of the country that issued their racing licence. Rosberg competed under the Finnish and German flags at different times during his early career. In Formula One, as for all FIA world championships, a driver's nationality is defined by his passport. Rosberg races under the German flag in Formula One as of 2009. He is friends with fellow Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Sutil.Rosberg started out in karting in 1996, at the age of eleven, before moving up to German Formula BMW in 2002, where he won the title. His performances resulted in a move to drive for his father's team in Formula Three Euroseries, a combination of the several national Formula Three championships that had existed prior to its formation. Rosberg did well there, and stayed on for 2004. Offered a place on the aerodynamics course at Imperial College London; Rosberg declined and in 2005 joined the ART Grand Prix team in the newly created GP2 Series. He went on to become the first driver to win the GP2 title.

Nico Rosberg ONBOARD lap Australian GP 2010

Rosberg got one of his first tastes of Formula One by doing a test session with Williams in early 2004. In late 2005, Rosberg was officially confirmed as a Williams driver for the 2006 season. In the Engineering Aptitude Test, administered to all new Williams drivers, Rosberg achieved the highest score in the team's history. In the first Formula One race of his young career in Bahrain, Rosberg was driving a car which was not considered competitive enough to get to the podium. and also had to fight his way through the field after losing his nose cone on the first lap. Nonetheless, he finished in the points, seventh behind teammate Mark Webber, and recorded the fastest lap, becoming the youngest driver to do so in F1 history. Following this he was linked with a move to teams such as McLaren. He qualified third at the next round Malaysia, but his Cosworth engine, on its second mandatory race, blew up after only seven laps. Rosberg did get into the points for the second time in the 2006 season at the European Grand Prix, benefiting from the hydraulic failure of his teammate. The rest of the 2006 season went less well for Rosberg; he retired in four of the next seven Grand Prix, and in the ones he did finish he was outside the points. His closest attempt to get into the points was in Britain, where he was just one second behind eighth placed Jacques Villeneuve. Rosberg scored a total of four points, three less than teammate Webber, over the course of what was a disappointing season for both himself and for the Williams team. Williams brought in new Toyota engines for 2007, along with a new team-mate, Alexander Wurz. Rosberg's old team-mate, Mark Webber, had moved to partner David Coulthard at Red Bull Racing. Initially, the Toyota powered FW29 showed potential in the pre-season test sessions. However, Rosberg remained realistic: "in F1 you cannot normally just jump back to the front [of the grid] from one year to the next". In 2007, Rosberg finished in the points seven times, including a career best fourth at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. He also placed seventh in the Australian, Hungarian and Turkish Grands Prix and came home sixth at the Italian and Belgian Grands Prix. At the Canadian Grand Prix, Rosberg qualified seventh and moved up two places from the start:

"Early in the race I thought I was set for a good result because I was running fifth and the car felt really good, but then the Safety Car came out on lap 21... I had to stop for fuel on lap 23, which meant I missed the re-fuelling window by 13 seconds and that effectively ended my race. New rules punish people who pit immediately after the Safety Car comes out, so I was given a 10s stop-go penalty and all I could manage after that was 10th place."

He suffered only three retirements during 2007; hydraulic failure 14 laps from home in Malaysia and an oil leak at the US Grand Prix five laps from the finish (although classified 16th), where he was on course for sixth place. He had started the race 14th having "glazed" his brakes during qualifying, therefore damaging his confidence. An electronics glitch also put him out of the Japanese Grand Prix. During the first half of 2007 season, Rosberg saw his teammate Alexander Wurz score more points, but later in the season Rosberg passed Wurz in world championship points, eventually more than quadrupling his 2006 points haul with 20 points.

Rosberg secured the first podium finish of his career with a strong drive to third place at the 2008 Australian Grand Prix. However, the remainder of the season was more of a struggle. He was given a 10 place grid penalty for the French Grand Prix, as a result of crashing into the back of Lewis Hamilton in the pit lane at the Canadian Grand Prix, despite only his race being affected by the incident as Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen were already eliminated. In September he finished second to Fernando Alonso in the floodlit Singapore Grand Prix after leading a Grand Prix for the first time in his career. This result was despite incurring a 10-second stop-go penalty for pitting while the pitlane was closed immediately after the deployment of the safety car. However, as what appeared to be a simple administrative formality took ten laps to issue, and the slow car of Giancarlo Fisichella was between Rosberg and the next competitive car during those laps, he did not lose much time and rejoined fifth, whereas Robert Kubica dropped from fourth to last on the same penalty for the same offence. Rosberg had a solid season in 2009, scoring points at almost every race and also consistently qualifying in the top ten. He opened the season with a solid 6th place in Melbourne, before fading somewhat in the next three races. From China onwards however, he has only improved, finishing 8th, then 6th, then 5th twice. At his home race in Germany, he put in arguably the best drive of his career, when he overcame fuel problems to climb from 15th on the grid and finish 4th ahead of championship leader Jenson Button. He then followed this up with another 4th place in the Hungarian Grand Prix and 5th in the European Grand Prix. Despite scoring a point in the Belgian Grand Prix, Rosberg's effort to score points at every race in the European season was ended by a lack of pace at Monza. Despite this, Rosberg returned to competitiveness at the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix by qualifying 3rd and putting in the fastest lap of the weekend in Q2 (1:46.197). Despite overtaking Sebastian Vettel off the line, and being on course for 2nd place or even a maiden victory, Rosberg undid all his good work by crossing the white line out of his first pit stop and incurring a drive-through penalty just in time for the safety car. With the field bunched, he dropped to the back, effectively ruining his race. Rosberg apologised to the team afterward, calling his mistake 'silly' and 'stupid'. Rosberg managed to claim 5th place at the Japanese Grand Prix after qualifying 11th and starting in P7 on a good strategy after a number of grid penalties. Soon after the race Jenson Button reported Rosberg to race stewards for speeding under yellow flag conditions, but Rosberg was cleared after stewards discovered that his dashboard display was only showing that he had low fuel. This bagged Rosberg 4 points, putting him in 7th place in the Drivers Championship with 34.5 points and Williams 6th in the constructors. Rosberg scored every point for the Williams team during the 2009 season.On 29 October 2009 Rosberg announced he was leaving the Williams team at the end of the season. He commented that Williams "have really supported my career over the years and I'd like to say a big thank you to them. However, I'm not sure they can win races at the moment and I would like to". On November 16, 2009, Brawn GP was bought by Mercedes and re-branded as Mercedes GP for the 2010 Formula One season. On November 23, 2009, Rosberg was announced as the team's first driver. On December 23, 2009, Michael Schumacher was announced as Rosberg's team-mate, and was given Rosberg's car number (3) because of superstitious reasons. Despite much hype concerning Schumacher's comeback, Rosberg has currently managed to successfully out-qualify and out-race his team mate at most races. In Malaysia, Rosberg achieved his first front row grid start, having qualified second in a qualifying session disrupted by rain; again out-qualifying Schumacher. He eventually finished third in the race; Mercedes' first podium as a works team since their comeback. His third place at the Chinese Grand Prix provided Rosberg with his second podium in succession, and he momentarily moved into second place in the drivers' standings.

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