Nico shrugs off Bernie jibes

Rosberg not bothered by supremo's criticism that he won't boost F1 should he win title

MEXICO CITY • Nico Rosberg has said he is "not here to please everyone", after Bernie Ecclestone claimed it would be bad for the sport should the German win Formula One's title, something he can achieve this weekend at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Ecclestone was also critical of Rosberg last year, telling him: "You are bad for my business."

The Briton followed this up at last week's US Grand Prix by saying: "If Nico won the title it would be good for him and good for Mercedes but it wouldn't necessarily help the sport because there is nothing to write about him. Even in Germany it wouldn't help."

Rosberg gave the comments short shrift before practice began at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez yesterday.

"I am here to win races, not to please everybody that's out there," he said.

"There will always be people who have opinions that go against me in some way or another. That's the nature of the business. I like to focus on the people who really work with me."

It was a single-minded response from a driver who is focused on winning his first world title, despite his insistence that he was not thinking about it.

Rosberg can even seal his title with three races remaining, if he wins the Mexican GP race and defending champion Lewis Hamilton retires or fails to score a point.

The German leads his Mercedes team-mate by 26 points. It is the strongest position he has been in at this stage of the season in his career but he said he was thinking solely about the race ahead.

"It has been a great season so far," he said.

""It is exciting to be in this championship battle with Lewis. We have been there before but for me, my way of achieving the best possible performance is focusing on things that are in my control and that is here in Mexico trying to win the race. "

Rosberg was equally dismissive of comments Ecclestone made on Thursday, with the Briton suggesting that F1 should introduce walls on corners in order to make racing more exciting.

"There are 10 other areas to look at to make the sport better than it is, before we start looking at turning back time on safety," he said.

McLaren's Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion and the most experienced F1 driver on the grid, advised Ecclestone to train his television cameras on cars topping 380kmh instead of concentrating on sponsors' logos.

"It's the camera angles - they should be there for speed, not just advertising," the 36-year-old veteran of 302 races and director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association said.

"Hopefully we will see more of that with the new owners (American company Liberty Media) and they will understand what the fans really want, rather than stare at a long shot for 10 seconds.

"You could see the actual fighting and see what an F1 car can do through a high-speed corner. At the apex, a camera in the kerb seeing a car coming through in wheel-to-wheel racing is awesome. We don't want those long shots."

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2016, with the headline 'Nico shrugs off Bernie jibes'. Print Edition | Subscribe