Nico Rosberg expects new Mercedes deal for 2017 Formula 1 season

Formula 1 world championship leader Nico Rosberg expects he will be at Mercedes "for some time to come" despite being out of contract at the end of the year

Nico Rosberg expects new Mercedes deal for 2017 Formula 1 season

Rosberg is now in his seventh season with the team, having joined following its formation in 2010 after it took over Brawn GP at the end of the previous year.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said in December contract talks with Rosberg were unlikely to take place until the middle of this year as he first wanted to see how the season would pan out.

Rosberg said: "The contract is not something that is present in my mind. Why should it be?

"I'm very comfortable anyway here, I have a great relationship, and I'll be here for some time to come, and that's it.

"It's not something that's on my mind at the moment."

In terms of earning himself a renewed contract, Rosberg has started the season strongly with back-to-back victories in Australia and Bahrain to extend his winning streak to five going back to last season.

Rosberg maintains he is doing nothing differently in his bid to overcome team-mate Lewis Hamilton after being beaten by the Briton in all three seasons they have been together.

"I'm just enjoying it at the moment," added Rosberg.

"I'm very privileged to drive this car, to be fighting for victories for such a long time, and when I go to China I know I'm going to be fighting for the win there as well.

"It's such a great feeling to have, winning is awesome, celebrating with the team, and of course getting all those points, it's great to start the season in such a way, and it's not the end for me.

"But it's really about not looking too far ahead, it's about being in the moment.

"I was flat-out last year, but it didn't often go my way, but now in these first two races it has gone much more my way."

Suggested to Rosberg he was coping better than Hamilton with this season's clampdown on radio transmissions between pitwall and driver, the 30-year-old replied: "Lewis is smart.

"It's not going to be a big problem for him to adapt to those things, so in that case comparing is down to you, but I like the challenge.

"It's up to us now out there, we need to get the job done ourselves, with fuel, this and that, it's a good challenge out there. It's cool."

KEY PLAYERS IN THE 2016/17 SILLY SEASON

After a static 2015/16 winter, there's potential for plenty of upheaval in the F1 driver market over the next 12 months. Here are some the key pieces that have to fall into place.

Rosberg's new deal

Mercedes has previously hinted at changes if its drivers' relationship became fractious again, and with Hamilton under contract that placed Rosberg on the bubble - but he's begun 2016 as the man in form.

Raikkonen's last chance?

Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas were among those strongly linked to the second Ferrari seat before the Scuderia decided to retain Kimi Raikkonen for 2016 after all. Will the Finn cling on again?

What next for Verstappen?

F1's hottest young property surely won't spend much longer at Toro Rosso - will he stay in the Red Bull fold and graduate to RBR (and if so, who makes way?) or accept advances from rivals?

Getting Vandoorne on the grid

Now one of the select band of debut points-scorers, Stoffel Vandoorne will surely be on the 2017 grid full-time - but supplanting one of McLaren's pair of veteran world champions or placed elsewhere?

Renault making its mark

Drivers were not top of the list as Renault's Lotus takeover came together late, so it was content to inherit Enstone's contracted duo - and then had to replace Pastor Maldonado with the handily drive-less Kevin Magnussen anyway. But is a Magnussen/Jolyon Palmer pairing how Renault sees its future?

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