Toto Wolff thinks Nico Rosberg will bounce back and challenge for the title in 2015
German loses out on 2014 championship after unreliability strikes
By William Esler
Last Updated: 23/11/14 6:03pm
Toto Wolff has predicted Nico Rosberg will bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on the 2014 Drivers’ Championship and challenge again in 2015.
The German’s hopes of a maiden crown were dealt a fatal blow in Abu Dhabi when unreliability struck his Mercedes W05, dropping him to 14th at the chequered flag.
“We know that Lewis’ talent is enormous and you can see that with 11 race victories," Wolff told Sky Sports F1.
“But both of them have grown as personalities and as drivers this year. Don’t expect Nico to give up and not to come back. He has got to lick his wounds and try to learn for next year and bounce back. I think both of them are going to be great competitors and fighting each other next year.”
The Mercedes boss highlighted Rosberg’s pace over a single-lap as a reason why he is sure the German can hit back, adding: “Lewis’ best thing is qualifying and Nico has beaten him so expect them to race hard and fight each other next year.”
Rosberg was running second to Hamilton when he reported a loss of power as his ERS failed and with the German needing to get ahead of his team-mate and hope someone else passed the Briton, Wolff doesn’t think the unreliability affected the title outcome.
“It is bittersweet as we worked so hard to make the cars reliable and there was so much diligent work in the background and then we have a problem on a car,” he admitted.
“I don’t think it would have changed the outcome as Nico had a really bad start and the odds were against him at that stage anyway. Both cars finishing the race one-two would have been better, but it is arrogant to say that. We must be happy we have a worthy World Champion.”
Whilst tensions have been high in the Mercedes camp this year, Rosberg came to the podium room to congratulate his team-mate after the race – a sign Wolff feels shows that they are still friends.
“You could see in that moment in the room when Nico came up that the rivalry was so intense, but there is an underlying long-lasting history and relationship between the two of them and they respect each other and honour each other,” he said.
“It was intense and it is going to be intense next year, we are going to have ups and downs, situations which are going to be difficult to manage. But if two drivers are fighting for a World Championship in the same team you cannot expect harmony all the time. It is completely normal.”