Nico Rosberg was so good Frank Williams paid him $569,000 to join Williams in 2006
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.
Happy birthday to @nico_rosberg! 🎂
The first GP2 champion in 2005 🏆#RoadToF1 #F2 pic.twitter.com/YFZA5XnTtQ
— Formula 2 (@Formula2) June 27, 2019
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.
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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.
#OTD in 2006 🗓️
A fresh-faced rookie by the name of @nico_rosberg made his #F1 debut
Taking two points and fastest lap in the process 💪 pic.twitter.com/UfJArbJ2Nf
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 12, 2018
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!
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