Nico Rosberg backs young stars of Formula One to unseat reigning champion Lewis Hamilton in 2020 as Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc bid for a maiden world championship
- The 2020 Formula One season set to begin on March 13 in Melbourne, Australia
- Lewis Hamilton is bidding to defend crown and win seventh world championship
- However Nico Rosberg expects a young challenger to make a serious title bid
- Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen of Red Bull have impressed so far
Nico Rosberg has backed one of Formula One’s crop of exciting youngsters to make a breakthrough this season and seize the Formula One title.
The like of Red Bull’s 22-year-old Max Verstappen and 21-year-old Charles Leclerc of Ferrari impressed last year but could not prevent veteran driver Lewis Hamilton seizing a fifth world title.
Yet 2016 world champion Rosberg believes the new campaign, which begins in Australia on March 13, could herald the changing of the guard.
Lewis Hamilton is aiming for a seventh Formula One title after winning in style last season
On the new season, Rosberg said: ‘I have very high hopes it is going to be incredibly exciting, last year we saw different winners.
‘We saw Red Bull win, Ferrari win, I really believe there is a big possibility that continues into this season.
‘If they step it up then that would be so awesome if the three teams went head to head. That would give us a spectacular Formula One season and that is all I wish for.
‘This could be the year of the handover but it depends on the car, the challenge Verstappen, Leclerc, I wouldn’t count Valtteri Bottas out either, Sebastian Vettel will be in there.
‘There are many drivers who if they have the right car they could be world champions and the handover could certainly happen from one generation to the next.’
Sebastian Vettel (L), Max Verstappen (C) and Charles Leclerc (R) will vie for the title this year
Since retiring following his sole title win, Rosberg has worked on many business ventures and also become a leading advocate for road safety.
His latest campaign sees him team up with his dad, 1977 world champion Keke, for a poignant video recounting their relationship and calling for total abstinence when driving as part of Heineken’s When You Drive Never Drink programme.
Nico Rosberg is confident that this year can see new stars emerge within the sport
Rosberg says: ‘It was always my dream to tell this story of my dad and myself having each won the world championship and our relationship. We didn’t really know what to expect but in the end it is the story of our lives, it really is replicating our relationship and our lives
‘It was really, really enjoyable, special, emotional, fun and the story, it is the truth. He used to be the best at everything then at the end I have this breakthrough and I am not anymore just his son but we are on level terms and that is what the campaign is about.
‘It is such a good story and to then embed the powerful message of road safety within that is a great combination.’
The idea initially came about following the conclusion of Heineken’s last campaign with Rosberg and the German’s desire to add a personal element to the messaging.
Rosberg adds: ‘We did the father and son stunt at Monaco Grand Prix where we both drove our world championship winning cars.
‘Why don’t we make a campaign around that, I didn’t think my dad would ever do that, he took a lot of convincing, he doesn’t like all this being seen in campaigns and all that, I said it was for a good cause and I said please dad it would mean a lot to me and he agreed. We had an amazing time and the outcome is beautiful.’
For Rosberg, there is still plenty more to achieve within the campaign and he has some clear goals moving forward into 2020.
He adds: ‘Alcohol free beer is having a big, big success in reducing drink driving, it is going through the roof and is becoming a very, very important asset to improving the situation on the road and that is great to have that within the campaign as well.
‘We are now trying to get the campaign out, doing social medial about it and raising awareness and getting people engaged.’
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