Lauda denies internal Mercedes hierarchy rift
A denial is often most revealing. Niki Lauda is now countering the rumours that he is about to be sacked from Mercedes AMG F1.
Following the race in Mexico, Lauda was performing his usual RTL media pundit interviews, when a spokesperson from Mercedes intervened to make it clear that Niki did not speak in any official capacity for the team. Toto Wolff’s media obligations were cancelled.
Lauda has been performing a dual role for the past 3 years as chairman of Mercedes AMG F1 and pundit for RTL. However, he has repeatedly been perceived in his post race interviews to be exceptionally pro-Lewis and by comparison negative towards Nico Rosberg. This has been causing problems within the team for some weeks.
Speaking to Frankfurter Allgemeine, the three times Austrian F1 drivers’ world champion attempts to dismiss claims of a rift between him and Toto Wolff.
“There is absolutely nothing to discuss”, says Lauda. “I have a contract until 2017 – which I want to fulfil. I do not know who is writing these stories, but the truth is… Toto and I are working together in harmony, everything is wonderful.”
Niki Lauda clearly understands the issue because he declared in Austin he may give up his RTL punditry next year. But the reality for Niki is that he is a fanboy – which is no bad thing – and the heart on the sleeve may have come to bite Lauda up the ass.
Given Lauda’s troubled F1 CV, the likely resolution will see him exited by Stuttgart, with a healthy pay-off from his operational duties. He will retain his 10% investor shares, but this will not give Lauda the right to speak or even work for the team.