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Nico Rosberg to Ferrari in 2012?

Nico Rosberg in training

It never fails: as soon as a young hot shoe begins to shine, rumors begin to spread that the hot shoe is on his way to Ferrari.  It was only two weeks ago that tongues were wagging about the possibility that   defending world champ Sebatian Vettel might soon give up his Red Bull livery for Ferrari red.  But the media soon tired of that story, perhaps having been dissuaded by Vettel’s luke warm response at the idea .

Of course, why would Vettel leave Red Bull at this stage in his career?  He’s the de facto number one there, he’s doted on by the team, and he has the fastest car on the grid.  Ergo, on to the next case.

The media never tire of finding the next partner for everyone’s favorite mistress, the Prancing Horse.  This week, paddock gossips have been whispering that Nico Rosberg might be making reservations for a trip to Maranello next year.  According to the story, he would replace Felipe Massa, who hasn’t seemed quite the same since his crash in Hungary year before last (or since Fernando Alonso joined the team last year, take your pick).

Is the Rosberg rumor serious?  Hard to say.  Formula 1 rumors tend to fall into one of two categories: the patently ridiculous that never materialize, and the patently ridiculous that do.

Would Nico really want to move to Maranello?  Ferrari would likely pay more money than what Nico is currently hauling in at Mercedes — but not that much more, considering that their current number one, Fernando Alonso, is the highest paid driver on the grid, pulling in something like 35 million euro smackers per annum.  They’d want to find a savings somewhere.

And would Nico really want to be paired with Alonso?  I have to think that Nico is feeling pretty good about his chances against anyone.  Regularly beating Michael Schumacher has got to be a boost to anyone’s confidence, even if Schumi at 41, as he recently admitted, isn’t quite the same as Schumi at 25.

But Alonso is still at the top of his form, and he is probably the most Machiavellian driver on the grid.  Nico currently enjoys a collegial atmosphere at Mercedes.  By all accounts, he and his senior German team mate get on well together.  Likely, things wouldn’t be quite so harmonious at Ferrari.  Sooner or later, the Spaniard would find a way to east his lunch.

As for Rosberg, he denies eying a team switch for the time being.  But this is a pro forma denial that drivers always make until a rumored switch becomes a reality. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso denied their moves to the Scuderia for many months, even though their plans had already been set.

Rosberg is a peer to F1’s current top performers, i.e. Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso.  It must gall him to see those other drivers win races and titles, while Rosberg has yet to advance to the top step of the podium.  Sooner or later that will change.  He’s certainly good enough to win races.

The question is, how good would he be, compared to his aforementioned rivals, in relatively equal equipment?  And how long will it be, if he doesn’t get that kind of equipment with Mercedes, before he moves to another team?

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