Saturday, December 31, 2016

No Respect: My Response to Mike Guy's Criticism of Nico Rosberg's Retirement

Photo: Firstpost.com
Yesterday, TheDrive.com's Mike Guy published an article slamming 2016 Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg and his decision to retire. Guy called Rosberg "the Biggest Disappointment of 2016." As a whole, the article has not been well-received (judging by the comment section), nor was it well-received by me. Listen to some of the absurdity here...

"Nico Rosberg, the soft-handed Monagasque semi-royal born with a silver racecar in his mouth, hasn't just walked away from the sport—he's disgraced it by declining to defend a title bestowed upon him by a vastly superior car and, frankly, a whole lot of luck."

Um...

"These pundits don’t have the guts to call out Rosberg for what he is: a semi-royal too spoiled grind it out, too coddled to stick around and protect a championship that was handed to him by Paddy Lowe and deep-pocketed Team Mercedes AMG Petronas. Paddy & Co. built a car so completely dominant that any F1 driver could have driven it to a podium finish just about every week."

First off, this car was not handed to him. Not just any driver can get a ride at a team like Mercedes. Furthermore, Rosberg (along with McLaren's Jenson Buttonwas the longest-tenured F1 driver on any team. He had been with Mercedes since their return to F1 in 2010; this was his seventh year with them. He helped build the team when he was teammates with Michael Schumacher. If anything, Lewis Hamilton was handed the dominant car after stepping in when Schumacher retired. As Ross Brawn noted earlier this week, "Michael, for sure, contributed to the organization and structure that has gone on to achieve success at Mercedes." And since Rosberg was with the team at the same time, the same must be said for him.

He goes on...

"It’s telling that his dazzlingly talented teammate, Lewis Hamilton, ended up on the cover of Time last month. He’s the real face of F1 because he combines talent with an inexhaustible, you-gotta-kill-me-to-get-me-outta-the-cockpit need to race. That Hamiton [sic] lost to Rosberg in 2016 is because he had really [censored] luck: his ERS system failed twice, his engine blew out once, failed once more, and his hydraulics [censored] the bed in Singapore. All told, the reliability issues probably cost Hamilton 40 points in the race to the Driver’s Championship. Rosberg beat him by 5 points."

Mike, let me tell you something: every driver on the grid is going to have good and bad fortune in a given season. Rosberg was in the wrong engine setting in Spain, which led to the opening lap crash. He was passed on the final lap of Monaco by Nico H├╝lkenberg, falling to seventh. He spun out battling Max Verstappen in Canada. He drove into Hamilton in Austria (a race Hamilton himself won), falling back to fourth when the worst he should have finished was second. He was demoted from second to third due to an absurd radio rule violation, which would have been legal in the second half of the season since the FIA change the rules every twenty minutes. He spun out on the first lap at Malaysia and (miraculously) recovered to finish third in a race he surely would have won, given the fact that Hamilton lost his engine and that he drives, in your words, a "vastly superior car."

That's a lot of championship points lost if you ask me, not to mention that fact that Hamilton can only blame himself for all the botched starts he had this season.

Also, let me remind you that if you argue like that, you must admit that the only reason Hamilton won the title in 2008 is because Felipe Massa drove away from the pits in Singapore with his fuel hose still attached to his car. Or that he retired from the lead in Hungary after an engine failure. Or that Timo Glock's slick tyres just couldn't hold up in the damp conditions in Brazil. If the field were frozen at the time Massa crossed the line in Brazil, he would have been the champion. That's how close it was.

Yeah, Hamilton's been on both sides of the coin...

Continuing on...

"Rosberg knows all this, and he’s getting out while the getting’s good. The chassis on the F1 cars will change significantly this coming year, which will place added emphasis on aerodynamics, and could chip away at Mercedes’ massive horsepower advantage."

No, Mike. He's getting out to step away from the stress of the sport and spend time with his family, not because he's scared Mercedes might not have as big of an advantage next season.

And finally...

"And Valterie [sic] Bottas, the [likely] incoming Mercedes driver, will easily fill Rosberg's small shoes with his prodigious talents."

Okay, I have to laugh at you here. "Valterie"? "Hamiton"? Really? If you can't spell the names of two Formula One drivers correctly, what business do you have criticizing Rosberg for making a difficult decision that he believes is best for him and his family, let alone calling it "betrayal"? Did you even proofread your article?

To argue that Rosberg is "betraying" Formula One is absurd. He is a great story and a great champion for the sport, and he doesn't need to be on the grid to keep serving that role in 2017.

4 comments:

  1. Whilst I agree that Mike Guy's criticism of Rosberg is unjust, your comments trying to argue Rosberg's bad luck this season is both laughable and absurd. The examples you gave aren't bad luck, they are just bad racing mistakes. I'm not having a go at Rosberg because Lewis made mistakes too, but to call them "bad luck" is just inaccurate. And even if by your logic it is to be defined as poor luck, Lewis had 10 times the amount of 'bad luck'. The fact of the matter is Lewis would have won the title at a canter had reliability - or lack of it! - not plagued his season. But that's motor racing. You get the rough with the smooth. Nico retired at the right time knowing he would never come close to winning the Championship again. He made the right decision for himself and his family, retiring at the top, before 2017 ruined his legacy. As a Lewis fan, I wish him all the very best.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your opinion! Obviously I disagree (I said "fortune", not luck, and yes, some of these things were mistakes on Rosberg's part), but Hamilton made mistakes this season too, as I noted with the problems he had with the clutch numerous times this season. I'm sorry you didn't get to see Lewis win another title, but I'm sure he'll come back strong next season. 2017 is going to be a fun year to watch!

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    2. Yeah no undoubtedly. Lewis and Nico both made mistakes, so there's little point in over-analysing the situation. Obviously the mechanical failures were the straws that broke the camels back, but that's part and parcel of F1. Nico deserves credit for battling it out with Lewis, who is quite possibly the fastest and best driver of his generation. He needed his fair share of luck, but so would most going up against Lewis.

      I'm optimistic about Hamilton's chances next year - I think he will win his fourth but a lot is dependent on the car and the new regulations.

      Great article and keep up the good work!

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    3. We'll just have to wait and see, Red Bull are getting stronger but my money's on Mercedes again, and given Lewis will have a new teammate still getting used to Mercedes, he's my pick to win the title for sure.

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