Ros­berg signs up to new Mercedes deal

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Ru­mours over the ac­qui­si­tion of Alonso end as Ros­berg signs for at least two more sea­sons

Nico Ros­berg has signed a new con­tract with Mercedes for at least the next two sea­sons, adding an in­ter­est­ing di­men­sion to the ti­tle fight be­tween him­self and team-mate Lewis Hamil­ton. The news emerged in Monaco, dur­ing a few days of fever­ish spec­u­la­tion sur­round­ing F1’s dom­i­nant team. It started when Di­eter Zetsche, the chair­man of the board of Mercedes’ par­ent com­pany Daim­ler, said on a tour of a Mercedes fac­tory in Spain that Fer­rari’s Fer­nando Alonso was “maybe the best driver”, not least be­cause he al­ways fea­tured promi­nently in races “in a car that is not very com­pet­i­tive”.

Ros­berg’s con­tract was due to run out at the end of 2014, and Hamil­ton’s runs un­til the end of 2015. Zetsche’s com­ments were taken by some to be a pre­cur­sor to the team at­tempt­ing to pry Alonso away from his Fer­rari seat.

This the­ory was knocked on the head when, Zetsche was asked why he had praised Alonso and an­swered: “Quite frankly, one rea­son was I was in Spain, and King Juan Car­los was present as well, and I’m a po­lite man.

“In­de­pen­dent of that, Alonso is one of the best driv­ers and I think we all agree about that. But I said as well, and that typ­i­cally didn’t get quoted, that we have a fan­tas­tic team and we are very happy and I leave it at that.”

In any case, se­nior sources say Ros­berg had some time ago signed a new deal that cer­tainly runs to the end of 2016, and may in­clude an op­tion for 2017 as well. The team are un­will­ing to con­firm this of­fi­cially, but they do say they have “long-term ar­range­ments with both our driv­ers”.

F1 Rac­ing un­der­stands Mercedes are not in­ter­ested in Alonso in any case. While Zetsche’s re­marks were an hon­est re­flec­tion of Mercedes’ re­spect for his abil­i­ties, the un­quoted sub­text is that they feel he is po­ten­tially too dis­rup­tive an in­flu­ence in­ter­nally.

Ros­berg rid­ing high post-win in Monaco. And he could well be a thorn in Hamil­ton’s side un­til 2017

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