Nico Rosberg's former race engineer, Jock Clear, has revealed that he and the 2016 World Champion didn't see eye to eye after Clear was appointed to work with him when the team became Mercedes in 2010.
Rosberg was signed alongside Michael Schumacher when Mercedes entered the sport in 2010 to take over the Brawn GP entry, with Clear remaining on from the BAR days. With Ross Brawn appointed as team boss, Clear was given the task of being Rosberg's race engineer.
"Nico won't mind me saying this. I engineered Nico in in 2010, opposite Michael," began Clear, now a driver coach with Ferrari, told Tom Clarkson on the Beyond The Grid podcast.
"Then I went over to the other side of the table. Nico and I didn't get on particularly well, just as a race engineer/driver.
"We actually get on very well now and we still stay in touch. He's been very helpful to me over the years since, in talking about some of the driver psychology things. So actually, that relationship improved.
"But, he'd come from Williams where he had a really good relationship with Tony Ross (who would be Rosberg's engineer in his championship year). And so Nico and I didn't get on famously. And similarly, Michael's engineer at the time (Andrew Shovlin) and he didn't get on particularly well.
"So Ross had a little bit of a rethink and said would I mind not working with Nico anymore? Because Nico didn't like me, and could I go work with Michael. So I said, 'Yeah, absolutely'. I said, we'll try and forget about '97, we'll try not to bring that up too often!"
Clear was referring to the 1997 season, when he was race engineer for Jacques Villeneuve at Williams, in a controversial season where Villeneuve and Schumacher had a tense championship fight that ended in disgrace for Schumacher after causing a collision at the final Grand Prix at Jerez.
Admitting they never discussed the 'elephant in the room', Clear said it ended up being a very enjoyable experience working with his former foe.
"I was so pleasantly surprised to find how enjoyable it was to work with Michael, that those couple of years were actually a pleasure. And yeah, he didn't get frustrated at all. And we all enjoyed it," he added.
"I think people could already see that the team was growing with, Michael wasn't delivering perhaps what he delivered in 2004, 2005, but the team was growing with him. And that's what people could see and he was enjoying that he was having an impact."