Nico Rosberg was so good Frank Williams paid him $569,000 to join Williams in 2006

Tejas Venkatesh
|Published 19/09/2022

Nico Rosberg greatly impressed Sir Frank Williams during the 2005 GP2 championship with his driving skills and his mechanical knowledge.

2016 title winner Nico Rosberg might not be one of the most recognisable F1 World Champions. But the German is no less talented than any of the other drivers he shared the list with.

Nico is the son of the 1982 F1 Champion Keke Rosberg. He is one of the only two father-son Championship-winning duos. The other is Damon Hill and his father Graham Hil.

Nico started Karting at the age of 6. He will achieve early success propelling him further in the European Karting scene. It was at this age that he would meet his friend and later teammate and title rival, Lewis Hamilton.


In 2004, he won the inaugural GP2 champion. This along with his success in Formula BMW, Formula 3 Euro series and Karting saw him land a test driver role at the Williams F1 team.

It is said that Sir Frank Williams, hand-picked Nico to join the team as a test driver in 2005. Frank was flattered by his in-depth technical knowledge and how he implemented it behind the wheel.

At Williams, he along with Nelson Piquet Jr was constantly observed. He impressed everyone including Sir Frank Williams, who decided to give the rookie a chance to drive in F1 in the 2006 season.

Also Read: Nico Rosberg reacts to a special Williams painted Airbus A320

How Nico Rosberg got the F1 seat at Williams

Ahead of the 2006 season, Nico Rosberg was closely monitoring the races as a test driver for Williams. Even then F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone requested Sir Frank Williams to consider giving the rookie a chance.

At the end of the 2005 season, Williams driver, Nick Heidfeld injured his hand in a motorcycle accident. He was set to miss the final two races of the season.

Nico was considered a replacement for Heidfeld. But the opportunity went to Antonio Pizzonia who competed in the Japanese and Chinese GP that year.

Williams gave Roberg the reason that they were considering giving Roberg a full-time contract for 2006. And they did not want to hurt Rosberg’s career development if he had a poor performance.


But to be considered, he had one major hurdle, the Williams’s Engineering Aptitude Test. This test was unique to Williams and checked a driver’s understanding of car mechanics and engineering aspects.

But Rosberg passed the test with the highest score ever. He even stopped reading the news to avoid becoming angered by negative publicity.

And he was awarded a whopping $569,000 deal by Williams. This was one of the highest deals signed by a rookie at that time and was given a 5-year contract. He partnered for the 2006 season alongside Mark Webber.

Nico eventually signed for the same team his father drove for when he won the Championship. He even scored his first points in his F1 debut in Bahrain with a P7 finish.

Nico raced with Williams until 2009. He was signed by newcomers Mercedes and was partnered with the seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. And the rest is history!

Also Read: Nico Rosberg turned down a $100 Million contract when he retired after 2016 season

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About the author
Tejas Venkatesh

Tejas Venkatesh

Tejas Venkatesh is a Motorsports writer at The SportsRush. He started watching F1 in 2007 and fell in love with the sound of the revving V8s. A technical nerd, tejas loves to nerd over the technical beauty only motorsports can achieve. He calls himself a Vettel fanboy and spent the night crying after Hockenheim 2018. Apart from F1, Tejas is an avid Chelsea Fan and loves football.

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