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GP Week : Issue 23
5 Minutes with ... Nico Rosberg After a first ever F1 podium in Melbourne, it’s been back to earth with a bump for Nico Rosberg in 2008. He spoke to WILL BUXTON about this season and beyond. GPWEEK: A podium in Australia but a bit of a nightmare since. How’s the season been from your perspective? NICO ROSBERG: The podium in Australia was great but that wasn’t the real picture. Since the beginning of the season we just haven’t had the pace we needed, and we knew that was the case since Malaysia where I qualified 15th. We just didn’t have the pace that we wanted to have or that we needed and as a result it’s been a difficult season in general. Was that a surprise after testing because a lot of people were building up Williams for 2008? Yeah, I really believed that we’d be better than that too. More than anything I was just confident that, especially after last year, we were on such an upward trend that I really thought we could build on that and do well this year, but it wasn’t to be. So what went wrong? Was it preparation, a wrong design direction? No I think that just in terms of development and the direction of things that we just didn’t find the right one. We were getting behind more and more, but I’m understanding more and more myself and I need to give the team better directions every day. Starting on the back foot like that must make it tough to catch up. We didn’t really know we’d started on the back foot, because of Australia. We didn’t really understand it ourselves that much. We can still turn things around this year. Not completely obviously but we can still improve and it’s important for us to do some good races now. We can still get a few results. So how is life at Williams? I feel very comfortable at the team. Of course I feel good, I’ve been with the team for a long time, I get on well with everybody so it’s very nice. Just the car isn’t fast enough. 18 A lot of people say Williams is a proper team, a traditional team. Do you think that old school mentality is its strength or that it’s holding it back? Wow… I don’t know. I think it’s a strength because everybody feels racing within them, right down from the top with Frank and Patrick, and everybody is pushing to the maximum. They all want to win. That’s something that not all the teams can have. It’s a positive. You have an engineering background. How much does that help you? It helps a lot! It helps me to understand, and to help the team understand the direction. The problem is that I’m learning new things every day, however it takes a while for things to be turned around in the factory. That’s just the way it is in F1, that medium term and short term you can’t do much. How easy do you find it to separate yourself from the guy at the track to the guy at home? I can, you know, when I’m on holiday with my girlfriend, I can get completely away from it. It depends. I’m so lucky to have such a job, where you really do get time to do other things. My friends, they work in banks and have 20 days holiday a year. Think about how much I have… OK I have to do my training on those days but going running, cycling or swimming – how hard can that be? I’m very lucky. So the long term goal? F1 World Champion I guess? No…. well, yeah probably. In racing yes, but not in my life. So what’s your life goal? Oh I don’t know… just be happy, have a good life and all the rest of it. And also find something to do after F1. A good job. Any ideas what you’d like to do? Rosberg Homes! [Laughs] I don’t know. So, can the championship be won at Williams? I don’t really want to answer that at the moment. We have other things to worry about and we need to get back in the right direction. We can definitely do better than where we are now, particularly with the rule changes. It’s a big opportunity to put a good car out there. It’s a little bit more difficult than being a manufacturer team, but not that much harder. So the future… does that lie here or elsewhere? The future is here… well next year. Then we’ll see.