Nico Rosberg has revealed that he has spoken to Bernie Ecclestone to clarify remarks the Formula 1 supremo was reported to have made about the German not being good for the sport if he wins the title.
Ecclestone was said to have reiterated his long-standing belief that having Rosberg as champion would not be positive for Formula 1 because he does not have the box-office appeal of someone like Lewis Hamilton.
"If Nico won the title it would be good for him and good for Mercedes but it wouldn't necessarily help the sport because there is nothing to write about him," the media reported Ecclestone as having said. "Even in Germany it wouldn't help. You need someone like Lewis."
Speaking ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, Rosberg said he has taken up the matter with Ecclestone, who replied that the comments he made were used in isolation of separate remarks where he praised the German.
Rosberg said: "I spoke to him personally and he said that it is not exactly how he said it. But it is not something that is important to me – I focus on my thing and that is it."
What he really said
A transcript of the Ecclestone interview shows that he actually believed Rosberg could deliver a boost to F1, as a new champion would add extra interest.
Asked about the benefits of another Hamilton championship, Ecclestone said: "He [Hamilton] won't do anything to enhance the championship (if he wins) because he's already a world champion. So what else can he do?
"So he's won it once more, which is good. I personally think he does a good job. Difference is if Nico wins, it will be a new champion and he will hopefully be doing good things because I think if Lewis wins again he won't do any different to what he's doing now, probably less."
Facing the critics
Rosberg said that he does not care too much about any criticisms he faces from either inside the paddock or from fans about his achievements, because his focus is simply on delivering his maiden F1 title.
"I am here to win races, not to please everyone out there," he said. "There will always be people who have opinions that go against me one way or another….that is the nature of the business. I like to focus on the people who support me, and that is it."
Rosberg also reiterated that the prospect of winning the championship this weekend would not alter his focus on chasing win than playing the long game.
"I am well aware of that [championship chance] – and it has been a great season so far which has put me in this position. It is exciting to be in this championship position at the end of the season.
"As I said before, my way of achieving the best performance is to focus on the things that are within my control – and that is here in Mexico trying to win the race. That is it."