Rosberg: Development rate will be extreme
29 April 2014 – Nico Rosberg has said it is critical Mercedes 'keeps on it' this season as the new 2014 Formula 1 regulations mean there will be a bigger chance for the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari to catch up.
Mercedes have set the standard this year, winning every race and taking three one-two finishes. Heading to Spain next week, Rosberg sits top in the Drivers' Championship with 79 points, four more than team-mate, Lewis Hamilton – both more than 30 points up on Fernando Alonso in third, while Mercedes is in an equally good position in the Constructors'. Despite that, however, Rosberg still regards Red Bull – Champions the last four years in a row – as the 'benchmark'.
"This year it's a development race which is much more extreme than we've seen in recent years because the regulations are so new," Rosberg explained to Sky Sports F1. "When the regulations are new the development curve just goes straight up for the first period and then it flattens off at some point once you cannot really find so much more.
"But in the beginning [as we are now] the teams are learning so much... [and] it is really important to keep on it because the chances for the teams behind us to catch up are much bigger than, for example, if we were being in the same situation last year because the development is just going to be huge this year."
"Very recently Red Bull was still the benchmark and is still the benchmark as a team - I don't think it changes that quickly - so we need to be careful and keep on improving ourselves, which we are doing, to keep our advantage or even extend it," he added.
"The target needs to be to extend it, that is going to be very ambitious, but that needs to be the target," he concluded.