Niki Lauda: “Nobody is thinking globally what is the best for the sport…”

Niki Lauda says that F1 has lost all direction – and blames Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt for a situation where changes desired by the teams can easily be blocked.

Lauda says that the new qualifying system was a “big mistake.” He was present at the Strategy Group meeting where the system was first discussed, but only as an observer, as Toto Wolff was the official representative of Mercedes.

“This strategy meeting, Bernie stood up and said, ‘We have to make more excitement in the practice,’” Lauda told Sky F1. “The first in qualifying will have to start from the 10th position, and the 10th guy has to start from first position. Horner said, ‘Yes!’, because he thought he would be 10th and it would give him pole position.

“So it all started. We all laughed, but it was serious. And then Charlie [Whiting] came up with this new system, so to get out of this problem with first and 10th, we were led into this big mistake. And this is the way it happened.

“It was obvious that when we took that decision nobody thought of all the details. But when the team managers got together later, and Charlie, they realised there might be some up and downs.

“The funny thing was once it was voted through then Ferrari was against it, then when the team managers complained that it might not work that well it was voted again, and everybody was for it.

“So this is really wrong, and we should change it quickly, get everybody here together, have a quick discussion about changed for Bahrain. People can make mistakes, this is a big mistake.”

Lauda pulled no punches when it came to the bigger picture: “We lost I think all direction. Now it is very simple. Normally Bernie and the teams stick together because we have contracts with each other to run the business of the sport. But it has changed because Bernie and Jean Todt, the president of the FIA, try to decide things beforehand together. If the teams don’t like it they can vote together against us, or the other way round.

So the whole system is blocked at the moment, in a situation where everybody is defending his own position, nobody is thinking globally what is the best for the sport, and therefore we make these wrong decisions.”

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Niki Lauda: “Nobody is thinking globally what is the best for the sport…”

  1. ronmon

    Yes Niki, and nobody is more narrow-minded and self-interested than you.

    • GeorgeK

      Everyone in F1 seems to think of themselves first, do they not? Seems like this is one of the few times they can unanimously agree on something.

      But if you want to point a finger at who’s cockamamie idea this was, direct it towards Bernie and Todt.

    • Brian

      Wow, isn’t that the truth?

      The F1 that Lauda misses (and the one in which he gained his fame) is one where the teams had fairly little sway and certainly didn’t “dictate” the rules to serve their corporate masters’ sales and public relations needs and desires. It was also one where competitive “power units” were generally available to all comers for reasonable (for F1) amounts of money.

      I just love that the rest of us are supposed to believe that he, Merc, and Ferrari are really the ones with with F1’s best interests first and foremost in their goals. Just amazing.

      All of you who think that Lauda and the manufacturers have the best interests of F1 as a whole as their primes issue raise your hands. Now, all of you who think it’s Bernie. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

      Niki, a prime reason that Bernie comes up these lunatic ideas to “improve the show” is that you guys have done such a great job of spoiling it *and* you block any meaningful changes to fixing this. And then there’s the fact that all of you voted in favor of this goofy qualifying travesty – twice. Bernie doesn’t have the votes to make it happen on his own.

      (I’m overlooking the fact that it’s Bernie’s fault (see: greed) that the manufacturers (a) are there at all and (b) have the power that they do.)

      • GeorgeK

        Spot on with most of your comments Brian, I’ll take issue with only one.

        All the teams DID vote for the new Q format, but only as an alternative to the reversed qualifying grid Bernie was promoting.

        Everything that is dysfunctional in F1 can be traced back to Bernie, from his cashing in with the sale of rights to CVC, to allowing the car manufacturers to foist an engine formula on the sport that gives them a right rein on the PU regulations.

      • petes

        @GeorgeK spot on George.
        Amazing that so many ‘fans’ still only see what they want to see, listen to only what they what to hear.

  2. CKN

    Nobody’s fault but mine. 💁

  3. TwoJP

    I don’t understand how the alternative, a reversed grid, would work. Who is going to run flat out to be at the back, if they run at all? It would have to be based on previous race or championship positions. So, even less running that the 2015 qualy. I must be missing something I guess!

  4. opk

    I suspect Bernie often intentionally proposes completely idiotic ideas (reverse grids, spinklers etc) in order to get a “compromise” closer to what he wants.

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