Rosberg signs up to new Mercedes deal
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