Niki Lauda denies Mercedes is ‘moving him on”

Adrian Sutil (GER) Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM04 at the start of the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd 19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday 27 November 2011.

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.

17 responses to “Niki Lauda denies Mercedes is ‘moving him on”

  1. I thought Lauda was pretty impartial during the 2014 fight. That he would favor Lewis after that? Not surprising.

  2. “There is absolutely nothing to discuss”

    Is it weird that my first thought was from recent US crime series, Backstrom: “When someone says ‘absolutely’, that is a sure sign that they are lying.”

    I too noticed at one of the last races, an apparent separation of the original trio of Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe, and Niki Lauda to replace Ross Brawn, to Wolff and Lowe being referred to, separately to Lauda,

    I did not find Niki biased at all; he would big up whichever driver performed better during the race, whether it was Nico or Lewis; this has probably more to do with the abortive Red Bull deal – potentially leading Mercedes into providing superior PU technology and intellectual property towards the secret project Red Bull have been doing Mario Illien.

    Or maybe Mercedes don’t want someone powerful within the team to question when the team works against one of the drivers.

  3. Must admit I have never seen Niki as one to tow the corporate line. He has always been very outspoken no matter what the consequences may be. I was surprised that he joined Merc in the first place. He never seemed a good fit with Merc.

  4. Great bloke, cheated death etc but something of a loose cannon and you can see why Mercedes must get nervous sometimes!

  5. Forget Lauda. The big question of the moment still hasn’t been answered. Where is this fabled Red Bull engine?

    • Yeah.
      Almost how many days since the TJ13 scoop? Boy we’re waiting soooooo long here.

      I’d expect them to race their Red Bull Illien engine for the rest of the season!!!

      Wouldn’t it be more logical for Renault to announce the purchase of Lotus first and then as an aside the continues cooperation with RB?

    • In the shed at the bottom of Christian Horner’s garden guarded by Bill and Ben the Flower Pot men. Flobabdob! Weeed! (apologies to the under 50s!)

      • And those of us 50+ who have no clue. Presumably some TV or radio show from 40+ years ago, seen or heard only in your country.

        • Sorry Sam, it was a children’s TV puppet show from the 50s/60s. It was a different show each day of the week in an afternoon spot entitled ‘Watch with Mother’ and I think Bill and Ben were the teletubbies of their day! Does fit in with the image of an engine built in Horner’s shed though! Examples of Bill and Ben on you tube of course. And the racing cars of the day were driven by fangio, hawthorn, collins, moss etc!

  6. he cant goto ferrari. how could he go there and be a positive force for the team? surely the compliments of lewis being the best, god like if you will, couldnt help him. any compliment he gives vettel will either be hollow or shatter the lives of lewis fans when they realize that all his compliments have meant nothing the entire time.

    • Don’t need Lauda to give Lewis praise for us the Hamfosi’s to believe he’s the best. Are you forgetting that Niki was one of his biggest critics before he joined Mercedes?

      Praise is earned, don’t need to beg for it and I’m 💯% sure he has earned it.

  7. Some folks forget that Niki was a true blooded racer, and will always support Lewis because he is a racer, he openly rejects the actions of those corporate heads at Mercs (Toto,Paddy) who display little passion for the spirit of racing to make their actions in certain situations appear politically correct for the show.

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