Tag Archives: Lauda

New Hamilton contract “just needs to get signed” says Lauda

Niki Lauda says he is not concerned that Lewis Hamilton has yet to sign his new Mercedes contract for 2016 and beyond, and insists that the deal really is done and dusted.

The saga of when Hamilton’s deal might be formalised and announced has been dragging on since late last season.

“It’s all going in the right pace,” Lauda told this writer. “There’s nothing wrong. It is basically sorted out, no more discussions. It is sorted out. It just needs to get signed.

“For me it’s out of the way because it’s done. An announcement, I don’t care. There’s nothing to worry about.”

Lauda dismissed suggestions in the German media to the effect that Hamilton might now be eyeing up Ferrari: “No, he can’t. We all agreed he’s driving, he agreed, we agreed, that’s it. Simple.”

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Niki Lauda: “Ferrari were unbeatable today…”

Niki Lauda made no excuses as he said that Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel simply did a better job than Mercedes in winning the Malaysian GP.

The former World Champion was quick to congratulate Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene immediately after the race.

“Very simple, they were unbeatable today I would say,” he said. “Because they did a perfect strategy, and Vettel did an incredible job. The car performed, the tyres lasted. For us it was a three-stop strategy. Why? Because with the tyres at their peak, for us it was important to make three stops. Ferrari was less hard on tyres altogether, therefore they had to do a two-stop, and one race.

“I went to Arrivanbene right away and congratulated him, from my heart, because he is competition, and more competition is better, and if Ferrari wins Bernie can’t complain about boring Vettel, which he said. Vettel is not boring any more! I think it’s very good this result for the total image if F1, which we’re always complaining about – I’m not, but some other people.”

Lauda said that the Ferrari win would be a wake-up call for Mercedes: “Normally in sport when these things happen, and you don’t win every race, the bell rings. The bell will ring loud because we all will hear it and we’ll react to it, which is normal. But nevertheless we’re second and third, we won the last race, so the world is not finished yet after one Vettel victory But nevertheless they were better today.”

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Lauda expects Rosberg to bounce back

Niki Lauda is confident that Nico Rosberg can bounce back despite losing out to team mate Lewis Hamilton in the last three races.

The Mercedes F1 boss compared the situation to his battle with Alain Prost at McLaren 30 years ago.

“Things happen, I had the same with Prost in the old days,” he told this writer. “No worries. He will work on himself, and improve. I’m not worried about him at all. He will come back.”

Lauda is adamant that there will be no team orders: “We don’t need to manage anything, just let them race. We only want to make sure there is no third guy involved. Then I’m happy. At the moment we are very well on the right track, but things can change.”

Meanwhile he’s delighted with the way Mercedes has started the season.

“It’s been a perfect operation, we can’t complain. Everything has worked out very well. But I have to say for a new start with new engines, new gearboxes and new cars for me the most outstanding thing is that all four races were won by Mercedes, three by Hamilton and one by Rosberg. This for me is the outstanding performance.

“If you are in a formula which is running for a while, and then you win a couple of races in a row, this is fine. But in this particular difficult year, this is the most outstanding job they did, the engine and car people.”

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Niki Lauda on the critics: “I’ll just tell them to get lost…”

On Sunday evening Mercedes F1 bosses Niki Lauda and Paddy Lowe were both delighted that the exciting Bahrain GP had gone some way to silence critics of the 2014 rules.

Bernie Ecclestone and Ferrari chief Luca Di Montezemolo had been vocal about the new power units in the hours before the race.

“It was very good, a perfect race, and it couldn’t have been better,” Lauda told this writer. “It was the best race that has happened this year, so whoever complains about it, I’ll just tell them to get lost, very simple.

“We gave them the result. So all the talk is not interesting, because we showed them how good motor racing can be. Bernie flew home during the race, and I hope that he’s going to look at it, and he’ll know what it’s all about.”

Meanwhile Lowe confirmed that he too was happy to that an entertaining race silenced the critics.

“That made me happier than anything, really,” said Lowe. “It’s a great result for Mercedes, and for the team, but more than that it’s a great result for F1, because there have been so much negative stuff going on around. I have to say not generated by us, but generated perhaps by some of our competitors, putting in doubt the nature of this new formula. Not only have we brought some fantastic new technology to this sport, power units that are 35% more efficient – that’s a huge number, if you think about it, 50 kilos less out of 150 kilos of fuel – and yet performance is very, very similar.

“People are talking about, ‘Well these cars are slower,’ We should remember that every time we make a rule change in F1 it is supposed to re-set performance, because the whole point of the regulations is to maintain performance within a band, for safety. So any rule change should set performance back by two or three seconds, to allow opportunity to grow performance back again, which will happen. Within this year we’ll be finding another second or second and a half, or more.

“So you need that head room. I think that’s a perfect outcome, We’ve shown that we can bring all this technology, and at the same time the spirit of racing is still there. A more exciting race I can’t remember in the last decade, in terms of wheel to wheel racing for the lead.”

Lowe said it was inevitable that some races would be more exciting than others.

“That is the nature of F1. If you watch many races over the years, you remember the great ones, you don’t remember the bad ones. It’s like any sport, you can watch soccer matches and there will be no goals for a lot of matches. You don’t say it’s rubbish we should change the rules and make the goals wider. Then you get other great games. It’s the same in F1. You have great races that are memorable and ones that aren’t and you enjoy the great races all the more because it’s just special. when it happens.”

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