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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 November 2005, 09:58 GMT
Keeping it in the family
By Matt Majendie

McLaren boss Ron Dennis had one simple piece of advice for Nico Rosberg on his ascent to Formula One - "don't forget where you come from".

And the newest recruit to F1, who was earlier this month snapped up by Dennis' long-time friend Frank Williams as his second driver, is in no danger of dodging that guidance.

Nico Rosberg
The son of 1982 world champion Keke told BBC Sport: "That bit of advice from Ron's the best I've had en route to F1 and I've tried to take it in every sense possible.

"But having the Rosberg name isn't an extra burden and doesn't really add additional pressure as it's the only thing I've known for 20 years of my life."

Rosberg Jr has been known to the Williams F1 team since "he was in short trousers on the F1 grid", according to Williams himself.

Despite that, he insists sentiment played no part in the decision to sign him to drive alongside Mark Webber next season.

The Rosberg CV already proves that - he clinched the inaugural GP2 Series championship and has been likened by Webber to Jenson Button.

The German, whose father drove under Finland's colours, is well aware he has only made it onto the F1 grid for 2006 as a result of Button's decision to stay at BAR.

"I think I was happier about that decision than even Jenson," he said. "It has given me the chance to race at the pinnacle of motorsport and I can't wait."

NICO ROSBERG FACTFILE
Born: 27 June 1985
Nationality: German
Honours: GP2 champion - 2005; 4th F3 Euroseries - 2004; 8th F3 Euroseries - 2003; Formula BMW champion - 2002
Did you know? Nico is the youngest driver to ever get behind the wheel of an F1 car - he tested for Williams aged 17 in 2002
Did you also know? His father Keke was world champion in 1982 - he won five races in 114 career GP starts
Rosberg's first official outing with the team will be at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on 28 November, while his first race is in Bahrain on 12 March next year.

For a driver brought up on the F1 grid, he insists he won't be in awe of the likes of Michael Schumacher come race day.

He said: "I'm not going to be star-struck. Stuff like that depends on how much you believe in yourself and I really believe in my ability and what I can achieve.

"Being in F1 is the ultimate goal but being world champion remains my long-term goal, even at this early stage. It's something I think's achievable."

Despite his confidence, he admitted he would be feeling nervous on the grid for his first race start.

"That said, I'm always nervous for a race," he added. "And if you're not, you're dead. Mixed with those nerves will be excitement but no pressure."

Rosberg admits the team's troubled last season - they were fifth in the constructors' championship - has helped ease the expectation on him.

But he believes that blip could be set to change.

It's going to be a big challenge to be as fast as him but I think I'm up to it
Nico Rosberg on team-mate Mark Webber
"I've been really impressed with the guys in the team already, and have a strong belief in what we're doing," he said.

"Then there's Mark [Webber]. He's not difficult to get along with and he's one of the quickest drivers in F1 - certainly over one lap, although over the course of a race I don't know.

"It's going to be a big challenge to be as fast as him but I think I'm up to it."

Webber was sufficiently impressed with Rosberg's testing that he pushed for him to be signed by the team ahead of rival Antonio Pizzonia once Button had bought his way out of his Williams contract.

Webber and Williams have been keen to talk up Rosberg's strength - his technical input arguably the aspect which eventually sealed the deal.

But Rosberg said: "I think my biggest strength is that I'm motivated. Added to that, I think I'm quick and I like the technical side as well.

"But I'm still not quite there yet. For one, I need to improve my fitness level and use every moment from now until the start of the season to learn everything there is to learn."

With the likes of Rosberg Sr, Dennis and Williams on hand, he ought to be well prepared.




SEE ALSO
Rosberg is handed Williams drive
03 Nov 05 |  Motorsport
Webber builds up Rosberg chances
23 Sep 05 |  Formula One
Rosberg wraps up GP2 championship
30 Sep 05 |  Motorsport


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