The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team has started the new season as it finished the last, at the top of the Formula One World Championship, but even driver Nico Rosberg admits the team has a massive battle on its hands to win the 2015 Laureus World Team of the Year Award.
Rosberg, who finished second last year behind world champion Lewis Hamilton in a one-two for Mercedes, which secured the Constructors’ World Championship, said that the Germany World Cup winning team, also nominated for the Award, would provide very strong opposition.
“I’m very proud that our team is nominated for the Team of the Year Award at the Laureus Awards. It’s very prestigious and for us to be there and have a chance to get this Award is great. But it’s going to be really tough.
“I’m a big fan of the German team. They also achieved an unbelievable thing [in 2014], it was just spectacular. I watched all the matches and I was there cheering for them in the final, it was so intense, and then great fun in the end.”
Lewis Hamilton gave MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS a winning start to 2015 at the Australian Grand Prix on March 15 and the team will be racing for a second straight win at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, with Rosberg hoping he can turn the tables on Hamilton.
“Last year we had the best car in Formula One by far. The chassis was awesome, the engine was awesome; they both fitted together so well. Of course, one thing is becoming the best and then another big challenge is staying the best. The opposition is trying to chase us all the time and we need to keep pushing, but I’m confident that we can do it. I believe in the team. We’ve really come a long way now. My target this year is my rematch with Lewis and my target is to be one better.”
Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff added:
“Laureus is something very special, it is close to my heart. Being nominated as the best sports team of the year by the world’s sports journalists is something you can be very proud of and it shows that all our hard work has come to fruition. It was an exceptional year, winning both championships [driver and constructors] and 16 races in a season is really something we can be very proud of.”
Asked how he rated the relationship between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, he said: “Their relationship is as good as it can be. They are team-mates, but they are also competitors and you cannot expect them to be friends or to be super friendly to each other because this is not how the situation is; it is about beating the other guy on the track and I think they have done extremely well. We had a little bit of up-and-downs during the season, but that is completely normal, it was as expected.”
Also nominated for Laureus World Team of the Year, along with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and the Germany World Cup team, are Real Madrid, San Antonio Spurs, the European Ryder Cup team and the Swiss Davis Cup team. The winners will be announced at the Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony on April 15 in Shanghai.
As a Laureus Ambassador, Nico Rosberg has taken young people from Laureus projects to the Grand Prix in Mumbai, Monza and Sao Paulo. He said: “It’s always a great experience to meet all those kids who are really enthusiastic about our sport and give them a great day and a great experience. I was on the bus with them going into the race track and then showing them our race car.
“I hope that, as Laureus, we give them a great day where they have a lot of fun first of all and then we can be an inspiration to them and for their lives, to give them a little bit more drive and maybe they can start dreaming bigger things. There’s so much that sport can bring to kids and that’s what I think is so fantastic about Laureus and that’s why I enjoy being a part of it.”