Former Mercedes race engineer Jock Clear, who worked with Hamilton, Villeneuve, Button etc., explains why he switched from Nico Rosberg to Michael Schumacher while working at Mercedes.
Jock Clear currently works at Ferrari as a Senior Performance Engineer and Driver Coach for Charles Leclerc. However, previously he has worked with many world champions as their race engineer, drivers like Jacques Villeneuve, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.
Clear explains he and Rosberg “didn’t get on particularly well” while he was working at Mercedes as his race engineer.
“Nico won’t mind me saying this,” Clear said on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“I engineered Nico in 2010, opposite Michael [Schumacher]. 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 later work with Rosberg at Mercedes].
“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 [Brawn, Mercedes team principal at the time] 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?
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“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 is referring to the time when he was Jacques Villeneuve’s race engineer at Williams, in his 1997 championship campaign.
Villeneuve was fighting Schumacher for the title at the time, and he did ultimately win, but not without controversy.
Schumacher, who had a 1 point advantage over Villeneuve going into the final race of the season at Jerez, crashed into the Canadian in a calculated attempt to take him out of the race.
He didn’t succeed, and it was he who got taken out and ultimately lost the championship. He was later disqualified and all of his 1997 points got taken away.
However, Clear says that at Mercedes him and Michael had a good working relationship.
“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.
“I think people could already see that the team was growing with him, 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,” concluded Clear.