Ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone we were fortunate enough to meet up with Nico Rosberg from the Mercedes F1 team for a chat. The team is sponsored by BlackBerry so we talked about how the phone maker makes a difference, Nico's personal tech including drones and lasers, the F1 tech which will come to your car, the best racing game ever and more.
Last week we made our way out to Mercedes-Benz World in Surry where we were lucky enough to spend some time chatting with Nico a few days before he headed off to Silverstone to compete in the 70th Grand Prix in which he came second to Lewis Hamilton.
What kind of technology do you use over race weekend?
Nico Rosberg: "Well, chatting a lot, of course, BBM with the engineers throughout the weekend because it's quick, safe and easy. Everybody has the BlackBerrys on the team, of course, so that's how I stay in touch.
"Then my Bose headphones, the ones that cover the whole ear with noise cancelling (QuietComfort 25 we assume), they're awesome. So those are the two things for example. And we're very lucky because both of those things are our sponsors as well so it's pretty cool."
Do you have a particular track you listen to in order to prepare?
NR:"No, it always changes. I like dance music just before getting in the car it good for getting pumped up – commercial dance music like Calvin Harris."
Which music streaming service do you use?
NR: "I use Spotify but I'm going to try the new Apple one also."
What's your favourite gadget around the house at the moment?
NR: "At the moment it's my drone. So my dad has a pretty professional drone and I decided I'm going to start with a small thing so I have a Hubsan and it's the smallest one with a camera on the remote but the thing is that it's so difficult to fly, it's really challenging. I've not broken it but I've crash landed it a couple of times. But it's really fun and it has video recording and it's good with my dog also, he loves chasing it.
"I could use it to spy on other drivers *he jokes*."
Is there any upcoming tech you're particularly excited about?
NR: "For my home security I'm putting up laser barriers at the moment, for example, so I'm pretty excited about that."
Which gadget could you not live without?
NR: "The phone, yeah."
That's a BlackBerry?
NR: "Yeah, of course. It's a Passport."
Is that your favourite ever BlackBerry?
NR: "Er, yeah. Although I did also like the ones from eight years ago already, but yeah it's cool."
What's the best way that BlackBerry helps the F1 team?
NR: "Ease of communication, everybody has it and it keeps everyone connected. Security, of course is important because we have so much confidential information going around and it's so valuable that knowledge. If another team get their hands on that or something then it would be very detrimental so that's good.
"Even my chancellor of Germany, is on a BlackBerry speaking to the Greek prime minister because of BlackBerry having the technology for being so safe."
How has tech changed in Formula 1 since you've been in the sport?
NR: "It's changed a lot. It's improving so much. I mean the biggest change has been hybrid power, so now we have full hybrid power nearly all the way around the lap and it's an incredible technology."
Do you have a favourite racing game?
NR: "My favourite racing game is like the 1997 PlayStation Formula 1 game (Formula 1 97), there's never been one that's better. We would play that for so many years and every new game that came out was not as good."
So you're a console person not a PC gamer?
NR: "No, I don't play at all any more. I like photography for example, I have a Canon. I give our official photography advice when he doesn't know what to do *he jokes*."
Which Formula 1 tech do you think is most likely to come to regular road cars?
NR: "The hybrid technology, that's a really good one yeah because it's so efficient and it's coming to road cars more and more anyway and that's the way to go. Because there is so many times when you're driving your car, there are so many phases where you're wasting a lot of energy which with the hybrid can be stored and used again you know.
"Every time you go down a hill you're wasting energy. The engine is running but you don't need it to be running because you don't need power you're just rolling so now with the hybrid that power, the energy that the engine is producing whilst you don't need it will charge the battery and you can use it again afterwards. So it's really very, very efficient.
"Or even when you're at the traffic lights, ok now a lot of cars nowadays are switching off, but not all do it. And even when you're at traffic lights, the engine is still running and you don't need the engine, now you charge the batteries you know."
If you could have one thing on your Formula 1 car which you don't have, what would it be?
NR: "Like nitrogen boost, like you see in the movies."
What's your opinion on self-driving cars which are being tested currently?
NR: "Interesting yeah, it is the future for sure and I would quite like it actually. To be able to choose, sometimes the driving is fun – I love driving old cars, for example – but sometimes I would love you just push a button and it would take me from home to the airport, that would be great. I could have a nap in the back, perfect. So, soon it will just be cabins on wheels, there won't be a driver's seat at all."