Father, Son, and the Potential for a Rosberg Texas Dynasty
Statistically, Nico Rosberg is certainly a contender. Not only is he poised for the title, but few would be surprised if he topped the Austin podium this year and donned the big black Stetson. Since the inaugural FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX in 2012, Nico’s trajectory of success in Austin has tracked as meh, whoa, and wow. He scored a mid-pack 13th in 2012, a respectable 9th in 2013 and a phenomenal 2nd place last year, just edged out by Mercedes teammate and “best bud” Lewis Hamilton. With some solid 2015 wins already under his belt and a seemingly unstoppable Mercedes strapped to his back, Nico is undoubtedly a favorite across the board.
While already flush with an arsenal of reasons why he should and could dominate COTA next month, Nico carries some Lone Star success in his bloodline that also may give him an edge. Thirty-one years ago, another Rosberg came to Texas and took P1. In July of 1984, Nico’s dad and all around F1 badass Keke Rosberg won a controversial and treacherously hot Dallas Grand Prix. The Dallas GP was one of two races held in the US that year (the other being in Detroit), and it was marred with 100+ degree temps, a (literally) melting track, and a looming driver boycott. Nonetheless, the track was tended to, the drivers agreed to take the grid, and the potential of a Rosberg Texas dynasty was set in motion. Keke “The Flying Finn” Rosberg won his only race of the 1984 season on Texas soil.
Nico isn’t the only current driver in the paddock with a rich racing pedigree, but he is the only one with a spiritual and familial connection to Texas and its F1 lineage. While the Dallas GP might hold a peculiar-at-best place in F1’s history, it could be a valuable, if not slight, boost to Nico’s performance in Austin. No other driver on the grid can say that their dad has won an F1 race in Texas. The Hamiltons and Vettels are the only other clans that can say that their names have been etched into the sun-baked sands of Texas F1 history. That has to be worth something, right? In a time when grams and microns and hundredths of a second can mean the difference between hero and hardly known, any advantage is an advantage. Be it insignificant, superfluous, or just plain superstitious, an edge is an edge. A family crest to carry into battle can be an effective mental weapon.
As it stands, Lewis Hamilton is the only bearer of anything resembling a Texas legacy, having won twice in Austin. Should Nico be able to channel Keke’s 1984 success and Finnish (get it?) what dad started, a new legacy of Texas Formula 1 will be forged. Nico probably doesn’t remember the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix as he didn’t exist yet (he was born a year later). He wouldn’t be the only one. In the grand and storied history of Formula 1, the Dallas race barely registers, but it might soon be recalled as the impetus of a new Texas dynasty. If nothing else, it would be an interesting bit of trivia. The Rosbergs… Keke and Nico… the only father and son to have both won Formula 1 races in Texas. Trivial? Insignificant you say? Have you ever watched baseball?
Nico Rosberg will attempt to fill dad’s big boots when Formula 1 returns to Austin October 23-25. He’ll have a rabid batch of hungry dogs biting at his heels, but a thick branch from the family tree to fend them off. Seats for the 2015 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX are still available but going faster than a Rosberg in Texas. Join us at COTA next month and see if Nico can carry the family torch to victory. Tickets available at circuitoftheamericas.com/f1.