Lauda: It looks as though we have the edge, but that could change very quickly 5 February, 2014 Lewis Hamilton in the Mercdes W05 at Jerez Mercedes Team Chairman Niki Lauda believes that the Silver Arrows have started the 2014 with an edge over their rivals after the pre-season test at Jerez. Although teams were not focusing on performance in southern Spain, many pundits believe Brackley based Mercedes has stolen an early march on key rivals like Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull. “This (Jerez) was purely an engine test, so the teams had the chance to try the new engines,” former triple World Champion Lauda told Osterreich newspaper. “We drove three and a half grand prix distances, and I am very satisfied.” “At the moment it looks as though we have the edge, but that could change very quickly,” Lauda warned. Niki Lauda keeps an eye on proceedings at Jerez He said he sympathises with Red Bull, who struggled even to run the new Renault-powered RB10. “The new, hybrid engines are very sensitive and complex and not easy to get to grips with,” said Lauda. “Technically, it’s an enormous challenge and also at Mercedes we had many small problems, but we were able to solve them immediately,” he added. Lauda recently scolded Bernie Ecclestone for criticising Formula 1’s new, ‘greener’ era, and now he says the Briton is also wrong to complain about the sound of the V6 engines. “The engine noise is just as attractive as before,” he insisted. The Mercedes W05 broke cover at Jerez Lauda isn’t even bothered about the ‘ugly’ noses of 2014, insisting: “Once a car is quick and it wins, it is also beautiful.” Meanwhile, the Austrian great has slammed a German magazine called Titanic, who in the latest edition put Lauda’s scarred face on the cover with the headline: “First photo – this is how badly Schumi’s accident affected him”. Lauda told Haute newspaper: “It’s impertinent, disrespectful and absolutely unacceptable. Who would print such rubbish?” (GMM) Subbed by AJN.