In about as awkward of a fashion as going on a second date and spitting out the name of a recent ex, the Mercedes Formula One team accidentally called its new driver “Nico” over the radio in the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday. Come on, Mercedes. Write his name on your palms if you have to.
“Nico,” as you probably know, is the name of Mercedes’ most recent champion, Nico Rosberg, who decided to retire right after winning the title in 2016. After the unexpected announcement, the team signed Valtteri Bottas for just a one-year deal in Rosberg’s old seat.
And two races into the 2017 season, they’re already calling this dude “Nico” on accident. Yikes. Here’s the radio transmission found by WTF1, in which the team says, “So, we still have potential for P4 here, Nico—uh, Valtteri—so just keep pushing.”
Seeing as Rosberg won nine of the 21 races in 2016, it should be obvious that a car back in sixth probably isn’t him. But hey, time heals all wounds, Mercedes. Maybe one day, Mercedes, you’ll find another Rosberg—another driver who can fight teammate Lewis Hamilton to the very end every race weekend and throw stuff at him afterward in an angry, seething and polarizing teammate rivalry.
Just don’t call that person Nico.