Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton rivalry forced them to pay for damages

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton rivalry forced them to pay for damages

Nico Rosberg revealed that he and Lewis Hamilton were forced to pay for damages incured from crashes during their stint as Mercedes teammates.

Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg revealed on a podcast that he and teammate Lewis Hamilton were forced to bear the financial responsibility for crash-related damages while at Mercedes.

Their crash during the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix is still regarded as one of Mercedes’ worst F1 experiences and the Brackley-based outfit demanded payment for damages made by the two drivers as a result, as Rosberg says he was fined $360,000.

Even with his huge wealth, Rosberg maintained his sense of modesty, saying it was “painful” to part with so much money after their bitter rivalry led to crashes.

In 2016, Rosberg and Hamilton engaged in one of the greatest intra-team championship battles ever. Once the best of friends, later turned into vicious rivals who were out to unseat one other and claim the title at the end of the season.

Particularly after Hamilton overpowered him in 2014 and 2015, Rosberg was desperate to prevail over the British driver. The two were running head-to-head in the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix when they crashed into each other, culminating in a DNF.

The team was offended by their actions as Mercedes’ superiors described the experience as an embarrassment. The rivalry between Rosberg and Hamilton grew to such an extent that it affected Mercedes as a team.

As revealed by Rosberg, the Silver Arrows came up with a unique solution to prevent something similar in the future.

“Because Lewis and I crashed, the team ended up making us pay for the damage,” Rosberg explained.

The financial repercussions for their clashes were significant, translating to an unusual form of accountability within the sport where drivers usually do not bear the cost of racing incidents directly from their pockets.

For Rosberg, it amounted to $360,000, as he revealed in the interview. The plan, however, worked as the two were careful and prevented similar incidents from thereon.

“I remember how much I had to pay: that was 360,000 pounds (around 420,000 euros) that I shelled out for one of these accidents,” he admitted. “That was very painful.

“This hefty sum undoubtedly added an extra layer of caution to their racing strategies. After that, we definitely made sure that we wouldn’t collide again.”

Despite the financial burdens from these crashes, Rosberg’s career earnings were substantial. In 2016, he signed a lucrative 100 million euro contract over two years, although he retired shortly after winning his championship.

“I had an existing contract for two more years, and if I just had continued for a few more years, it would have easily been 100 million,” he added.

Looking back on his earlier days, Rosberg shared a similar financial predicament from his Formula 2 career when he had to use his first significant paycheck to settle a racing-related debt.

“As soon as the 80,000 were in my account, they were gone again because my father had taken out a loan to pay for an accident that I caused in Formula 2,” admitted Rosberg. “That’s where I got it crashed my car, destroyed the front wing and the front end – and that cost 80,000.

“The goal back then was that we didn’t have to pay for my racing ourselves, but rather finance it through sponsors. But of course that didn’t include the big crash.

“So we had to borrow money from the bank and the first salary went straight back there to cover that.”

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