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Rosberg banks on 2012 podium

2012-03-09 15:06

GUNNING FOR A WIN: Nico Rosberg has his hopes pinned on an improved car, experience team mate and confidence in the Mercedes team despite never winning a race in 108 grands prix.

BERLIN, Germany - Nico Rosberg goes into his third Formula One season next week with team mate and seven-times World champion Michael Schumacher hoping for the Grand Prix victory that has eluded both of them.

The 26-year-old Mercedes driver and German-born son of former world champion Keke Rosberg has 108 races behind him and earned more championship points than his team-mate for the last two seasons.

The 43-year-old Schumacher, who stepped out of more than three years' retirement to team up with Rosberg in 2010, has a contract which runs out at the end of the season.

Both appear cautiously optimistic as they prepare to take on the grid for a third time this season, beginning with next week's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, saying they are in a better position than previous seasons.

"We want to improve on last year and get on the path to becoming the best Formula One team," Rosberg told dpa in an interview.

Rosberg has his hopes pinned on an improved car, his rapport with his more experienced partner and confidence in the Mercedes team.

"I have been and am convinced that I can win with this team," he said.

"Of course I respect what others hope for and think. But ultimately I'll give full throttle and power."

Rosberg is keen to continue his partnership with Schumacher beyond this season and said an extension of his team-mate's contract would be a welcome development and "quite possible."


"We complement each other technically, which of course is helpful for the development of the car," Rosberg said.

Schumacher said on his website this week the issue of the contract was "just totally unimportant at the moment."

Rosberg extended his contract with Mercedes in November, agreeing a multi-year contract extension, which the team said incuded "the 2013 season and beyond."

Rosberg said he has a good "gut feeling" ahead of the season and felt relaxed despite tough competition, following tests using the new Mercedes W03 car.

"It has felt good from the beginning. We haven't had any of the stability problems with the W03 we had a year ago. I'm very happy with the many laps I was able to test. We could work at constantly improving the performance that way, which pleased all of us."

A good feeling before the seasons was good for the team, he said. Its mechanics and engineers had conducted 130 hours of tests over seven days. "That's unbelievable. But where it will lead to one will only know in Melbourne," said Rosberg.

"At the moment I'm relaxed, but on just before 5 pm in Australia on Sunday (March 18) that won't be the case," he said.


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