Monisha Kaltenborn trades insults with Niki Lauda

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Last week, Niki Lauda expressed his views on the EU complaint being made by Sauber and Force India. Niki said that neither Monisha Kaltneborn nor Bob Fernley should have engaged in this process and that the contracts they signed with Bernie Ecclestone for the monies they receive were willingly agreed.

“They signed the Concorde Agreement where everything was stipulated to the last detail, and then they say ‘This is suddenly not valid.’ I don’t understand the reasoning. Like every other sport, F1 has always had teams that win and teams that are behind,” said Lauda adding: “You can’t have a team that is steadily accumulating debt and then suddenly as a last resort tries to bring the whole system into question. Everyone is responsible for himself. Sauber should fight first against their own inabilities.”

Lauda then turned his guns on Kaltenborn suggesting that Sauber are unable to manage their own business properly. Niki called her decision “stupid” to sign four drivers for 2016 when her team had just 2 race seats.

The Sauber boss has responded to Lauda in the Swiss media, stating he is either disinterested or incapable of understanding the idea of ‘abuse of a dominant position’, where teams are told by Ecclestone to sign the contract on offer or bugger off.

She also criticises Daimler-Benz for allowing someone who speaks on behalf of one of their brands to make such “unintelligent“ comments. Kaltenborn concludes that Lauda “should know better” given his ‘back to the wall’ experience he faced with his airline.

19 responses to “Monisha Kaltenborn trades insults with Niki Lauda

  1. Lauda is right. That signing 4 drivers for 2 seats is the stupidest thing I have witnessed since I follow f1… and if kaltenborn can’t admit that than she isn’t that intelegent her self.

    • You have no idea why she signed 4 drivers, maybe it kept this historic team afloat at the time. Lauda, with the huge budget of new team Mercedes, knows nothing about being a privateer in modern F1, he should mind his business, go polish trophies or something. Sauber should get “historic payments” or whatever they’re called, before Mercedes or especially Red Bull. It’s not Sauber stopping sponsors joining, it’s F1. Sponsors aren’t joining any team. Sauber is a well run team, it’s F1 that’s F’d Up.

  2. Niki is right, but he misses the point completely. On top of that his comments were insulting, like many other times. Lauda’s position is a copy of Bernie’s version : IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE CONTRACT, DON’T SIGN IT! This is what he told Montezemolo when the latter complained publicly after signing up the Concorde agreement renewal, around 2007. I always thought someone would have the guts at some point, to lodge a complaint before the European Commission. I wonder why it has taken so long. Lotus finished fourth on 2013, but even with more money from Bernie the team were still struggling. I applaud Monisha’s guts! She is right: at stake here, is this : ‘abuse of a dominant position’. Niki got what he deserved : rotten eggs on his face!!! Bravo Monisha!

  3. The quote about “you knew what you were signing” is very misleading. While all teams saw the contract they were signing they didn’t see any other teams contract. While you might guess the size of the historic payments until they were published you might not have been aware of how huge they were!
    Bernie always operates on a divide and conquer basis. Hence the teams are not allowed to disclose their payments or contract conditions from him!
    Lets face it most of the teams have a business that uses F1 to advertise with. A few teams like Sauber and to a lesser degree Williams F1 is their business. So if Merc, Red Bull or Ferrari pull out of F1 they are still in business. If Sauber didn’t sign the contract they would be making their staff redundant etc.
    It’s almost like manufacturers teams should not be given ‘historic’ payments as in the main they are only in F1 to publicise their company. The real F1 heroes are the ‘privateer’ teams, they should get attendance money.

    • Let’s face it : The huge F1 cake is distributed very very very badly. And extremely unfair.

      • I can’t help thinking that F1 would be a better sport if, where prize money was concerned, it followed the American Football model wherein those that finish further down the league table are given a helping hand for the following season in terms of earlier/better draft picks. Because the result is that over time advantage is eroded and last decade’s losers may well become next year’s winners (and often do). And there is genuine and dynamic competition. Or if you don’t like US football, how about horse-racing where again, winners are handicapped to make racing more exciting.

        Whereas if you always and only reward success then the top teams stay the top teams, as in the English Premier League where the extra money for being at the top allows you to stay at the top and you can bet the winner will only come from within a very small elite of teams. Fair in the respect of rewarding effort … but leading to less interesting racing!

        • Everybody knows this. But Bernie doesn’t care. Unless he goes, nothing will change. This discussion is about Monisha reaction to Niki’s insult.

      • The thing I find most offensive is the Bernie is allowed to withhold yearly earnings for the better part of a year, and only if the teams compete for the entire next year.
        Teams like Marussia and Caterham driven to the brink have to stump up enough money to go on another year just to be paid what they have already earned.

    • Except Bernie doesn’t want to ‘privateer’ teams in the sport because they lack the glamor and money the factory teams do. He’d be more than happy to kick Sauber, Force India and Marussia to the curb in favor of three new “customer” teams from Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.

      My fear is Formula One goes the way of World Sports Car (FIA Group C) in the 1990s, which changed the rules to favor the factories (and significantly raised the expense to compete), driving out many of the ‘privateers’ who helped fill out the grid. When the factory teams pulled out, the series collapsed.

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