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Nico Rosberg and his dad, Keke Rosberg, both have Formula 1 championships. If you ask Nico, his success should mostly be expected. That is because the younger Rosberg believes the majority of driving skill is something you’re born with.

Rosberg was discussing the reasons for his success according to Reuters, and credited his dad, but not exactly how you might expect.

“I just, from my dad, genetically inherited a natural gift to drive racing cars,” Nico said. “I’m a firm believer that genetics are quite a big part of this… I would probably say 66 percent genetics, 33 percent nurtured. I would go to that extreme. In our sport it’s very clear…”


The racing world is full of examples of successful racing families. The Andrettis, Earnhardts, Unsers and Pettys all come to mind. So at first, Rosberg’s claims seem to have some merit. These families must just have the fast gene tucked away in their DNA.

Rosberg thinks so, and points to another son-of-a-driver as proof. Referring to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Nico said, “His dad (Jos) was a successful driver too, and now his son is a successful driver because it’s the genes that pass on.”

But the more you think about it, the more it (should be) obvious how having a successful racing dad really helps. Growing up around the track and driving competitively from a young age is a huge advantage that most people do not have. And that only explains half of it. How many times have we seen talented drivers get left out in the cold because they aren’t marketable enough for sponsors to pay their way to the highest levels of racing?

Having a recognizable name, plus the money that can accompany a successful racing family, sure helps when it comes to paying for the insanely expensive sport of racing. There is undoubtedly some natural skill that helps Rosberg and other drivers be as good as they are, but the abundance of racers with a successful lineage points just as much to the advantages of growing up in the sport from a young age.

Related: When father and son are both famous drivers, they just have to race

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