Rosberg signs new Mercedes contract

Nico Rosberg is to remain at Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton after signing a contract extension for at least two more years.

The 28-year-old’s current deal was due to expire at the end of the 2014 season.
A Mercedes spokesman said: “We have long-term relationships with both our drivers.”

The second generation driver, who won the opening race of 2014, is second in the standings, behind teammate Hamilton, who is in the second season of a three-year deal.

News of Rosberg’s fresh contract deal follows comments this week from Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of Mercedes Cars, that Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was “the best driver in F1”.

Zetsche’s remarks, made during a visit to a Mercedes car factory in Spain, led some in F1 to wonder whether Mercedes were targeting Alonso as a future signing after he has endured a long spell of poor results with the struggling Ferrari outfit.

But the Brackley-based outfit have since insisted they are happy with their current line-up and have no intention of breaking it up for the foreseeable future.

Mercedes bosses also point out that, during his trip to the car factory, Zetsche stated he felt his team had the best driver line-up in F1 but that this was not reported by the media.

Alonso’s relationship with Ferrari is currently experiencing a period of strain as the Spaniard seeks a third world title and the team struggle to remain competitive enough.

Mercedes have experienced a monumental change or fortunes. The Silver Arrows have won every race in Formula 1 this season after producing a dominant car under the new rules that have introduced turbo-hybrid engines and a fuel-efficiency based set of regulations to the sport.

Hamilton has won four races to Rosberg’s one, but they are only separated by three points going into this weekend’s race in Monaco.

Reacting to the news, ex-driver David Coulthard responded: “Nico’s being rewarded for not only helping build the stability in the team over the last couple of seasons but also it gives him a platform to really have a clear head and take this World Championship battle head to head with his team-mate.”

Coulthard did however state his belief that Hamilton remains the team’s number one driver. He explained: “The reality is you can only have one of your drivers standing on the top spot of the podium.
“Lewis Hamilton has been brought in as a former world champion, as the one that they would have expected to really be leading the charge for another championship.
“No disrespect to Nico but we’ve seen Lewis and Fernando go head to head before at McLaren and it didn’t work.
“We’ve seen Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost within a team together as well and that didn’t work.
“Ideally you have two number ones but there’s always going to be one of them that’s slightly stronger.”

Whilst Rosberg is sitting in the unenviable position of being Lewis Hamilton’s team mate, they are nonetheless believed to be contractual equals, and Rosberg appears to be confident enough in his own ability to remain competitive against his teammate and take maximum advantage of the unrivalled machinery his team is providing him with.

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