Vettel needs to retire at least once, otherwise it’s over – Lauda

“And one thing is clear: Vettel needs to retire at least once, otherwise it’s over.”

“Ferrari has got a momentum going.”

“If it stays like this the gap will become huge – alarming.”

These quotes are taken from a recent conversation between Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda and Austria’s largest newspaper the Krone.

Is the Mercedes / Hamilton relationship under stress?

I am trying hard not to over think things, but sometimes we see and hear things that in the moment we shake off, but in the end, when it is all put together it starts me wondering.

Hamilton’s radio transmissions have, (since the first evidence of Ferrari’s renewed contention for poles, points and podiums) made me feel that the pressure is on. This would to be expected, but I have detected a tone of question from Hamilton to his team and their race management.  It is not unusual for other drivers but I feel Hamilton wears his heart on his sleeve, and in his voice there is sort of questioning at the end of the sentence that my wife uses when I have failed to meet her expectations.

This public statement from Lauda is, in any type of business not the style that a director would deliver if they were keen to keep morale up during testing times.  He could of answered such political questions in other – “not giving an answer ways”, and usually does.  I admit 20 odd points was huge years ago, but we have barely touched the European series of the formula and he is in effect writing off Mercedes chances.  It is simply too early to risk making relations and morale worse, unless he has a reason.  In all my years of F1 Niki always has a reason for everything.  Question is what?

-SteveBarbyF1

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12 responses to “Vettel needs to retire at least once, otherwise it’s over – Lauda

  1. Wow that’s quite a leap in logic…not sure how you get to strained relationship Hammy and Merc from that small statement?!

  2. aha..! I am always in for a good conspiracy theory. Mercedes had been winning too much, Ferrari not nearly enough. 1+1 makes 3. Lewis’ (relative) silence is adding to the feeling…

    • And when he is talking he is either looking like life has just caught him sleeping with its wife, or broadcasting things that we have not seen much before..

      “Leave me to it, Bono, please.”

      “Did we not stay out too long? I was losing a second and a half at that point”. – “Yeah we’ll discuss it later, Lewis.”

      “Have I come out far behind?” > ” Gap to Raikkonen now eight seconds” > “How is that so big?”

  3. Perhaps…but I just get the feeling by his team radio broadcasts, publicly asking for justifications and reason, and even his interviews.. Makes me feel that he is uncomfortable about more than just not winning. The story really is in the statements made by Lauda as a director. He is certainly not publicly backing or reassuring.. His constant flirting with other drivers such as Vettel, even perhaps Alonso.. not helping much to egg the teams No1 driver on. Either a) Lauda doesn’t care b) Hamilton cant cope with not winning more than we thought… or c) He is getting his head round the politics of next years lineup…

    • Stress is there, in an inter-team battle you might say that there is some level of control in his position. Political control so to speak. When your competition is another team, that control is not an option. He needs to rely on his team and things go wrong, learn from the mistakes not dwell on them. If Hamilton stays focused on the mistakes, Vettle will continue to make gains and stress between him and his team will get worse. If Hamilton is too critical, they might well say goodbye. Let’s see how it progresses and if Hamilton can stay focused.

  4. No one who is at the level of Alonso/Vettel/Ham can cope with not winning. Look at how petulant Vettel became last season. What was it? I seem to recall a radio transmission to the effect of “For fuck’s sake, what are we doing?” Granted that was after he’d been taken out, but the frustration was clear. No one who has come up through the brutal rungs of motor racing is going to take losing easy. These guys have always been dominant in their respective years.

    Ferrari is indeed faster than Mercedes this year, both by car and by strategy (which is afforded to them by the design of their car and its relationship with the tires). I’ve always thought that Vettel (and Alonso) are every bit the match for Ham in terms of raw and pure talent.

    But to always be ragging on the Mercs now, TJ13 please! First it was TheJudge who was making constant digs at the HAMfosi, and now it’s vague logic about how Merc has given up. They haven’t. But they HAVE probably realized their design mistakes at this point and are already rectifying them for next season; this year is probably too late.

    Merc knocked the 1.6T-hybrid formula out of the park with its sheer dominance for three years. It’s natural that talent would be pilfered and knowledge transferred and eventually Maranello would be able to produce a winner, given they are the only other team with the same level of funding.

  5. Just worry a bit that Niki’s comments will come back to haunt him if Bottas takes out Vettel in turn 1 in the next race or two.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if Bottas resorts to that for the rest of the season, he clearly isn’t out there racing for himself….you know, “for the good of the team”

    • Wouldn’t be the first time Lauda said the wrong thing. I seem to recall that he once offered Red Bull and engine supply!. The man is a loose canon and is danderous to Mercedes!

  6. Maybe Lauda is just tempering expectations for this year. The Mercedes has much more tyre wear than Ferrari. If this problem is too fundamental, their engineers wil not fix it for this year. Or if they focus on this problem, the engineers cannot focus on speed much, while Ferrari can focus on speed.

    My guess is that Lauda has spoken to the engineering department and heard of the possibilities to improve for the 2017 and get ahead of Ferrari. The answer was that they can catch up with Ferrari, but can’t surpass them.

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