• First Barcelona Test, Day One

Mercedes in much better shape this year - Rosberg

ESPN Staff
February 19, 2013 « Live Barcelona testing | FW35 is 'a big improvement' - Maldonado »
Nico Rosberg: "It's a pleasure to drive because it's fast and a lot faster than last year" © Getty Images
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Nico Rosberg is confident he has a much better baseline with the new Mercedes in Barcelona this week than he did at the same time last year.

Rosberg got Mercedes' second week of testing underway by setting the fastest time on the opening day, 0.007s ahead of Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen. Comparing this year's car to last year's, which won a race in China but proved problematic over the course of the year, he said the new W04 was streets ahead.

"It's a much, much better base," he said. "You can feel that the centre of gravity is lower, the aero is better, the platform is better. It feels a lot stronger. It's a pleasure to drive because it's fast and a lot faster than last year."

However, after Mercedes' first two days in testing were plagued by reliability issues, Rosberg suffered a gearbox problem on Tuesday and completed just 54 laps. He said reliability was the main area the team needed to focus on going forward.

"I didn't get many laps in and that's a bit of a pity," he said. "We need to work on that as we have a few too many reliability issues at the moment. Other than that it is going in the right direction for sure and the car feels decent out there and that's a good start."

Rosberg said tyre degradation had been high but that it was the same for all drivers in the cold conditions on Tuesday.

"It's very bad at the moment in general out there. It's massive degradation for everybody. I don't know if that's because of the cold temperatures, hopefully it is otherwise there are going to be many pit stops in Melbourne!"