Lauda denies big money has led to Mercedes dominance early in the V6 turbo era

Niki Lauda with Christian Horner

Niki Lauda with Christian Horner

Niki Lauda has dismissed claims that Mercedes is set to dominate the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship season because the German manufacturer has spent more on the development its new turbo V6 Power Unit than other engine suppliers.

“It is no secret,” Renault-powered Lotus’ team owner Gerard Lopez said this week, “that we face an extremely well-resourced rival in Mercedes who have dedicated considerable efforts to their Power Units for the 2014 season.”

Red Bull’s Christian Horner added this week: “[Mercedes] invested more, they invested earlier.”

Ex Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger told the APA news agency: “[Mercedes] are ahead of the game because they invested more money.”

Mercedes F1 V6 turbo power unit

Mercedes F1 V6 turbo power unit

And even Ferrari is claiming it has been out-powered in the resources department by Mercedes as Formula 1 makes its revolutionary technical shift.

“If we had more time,” boss Stefano Domenicali told Italy’s Autosprint, “maybe we would be more prepared for the start of the season.

“The complexity of this project is really high and our resources are, so to speak, limited.”

Domenicali said that on the other hand, Mercedes has “more specific” engine-related “firepower”, that has “exaggerated” the early phase of Formula 1’s new era.

“It is clear that they have been in a position to arrive at the start having solved all the problems that we have only [just] found,” the Italian insisted.

Niki Lauda watching proceedings during Jerez test

Niki Lauda watching proceedings during Jerez test

But Lauda, who is Mercedes’ Formula 1 Chairman, disputes the claim that Mercedes is so far ahead.

“We will only know when the first three races are over,” he told RTL television, “but I think Ferrari is on roughly the same level as Mercedes.

“The only one that really struggles at the moment is Renault. They do not have the reliability that we have, simply because we have done a better job.

“But that has nothing to do with money,” Lauda insisted.

Told, however, that Mercedes has clearly invested more than its rivals in the development of its new V6, the great Austrian answered: “No.

Mercedes launch their 2014 campaign

Launch of the 2014 Mercedes F1campaign

“Our team is the same as it has been; the investments for all three engine manufacturers are the same. Nothing has changed in the basic structure of the three companies,” said Lauda.

He also thinks that Renault is probably not far away from solving its problems, however dramatic the French marque’s situation appears.

“We all know that in Formula 1, rapid development jumps are possible,” said Lauda.

“And if Renault just has software problems, their recovery could be really fast.” (GMM)

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  • Boycottthebull

    Given that Redbull gets 50 million quid ( and Ferrari get 100 mil) as a special appearance fee straight from Bernie while Mercedes and Lotus get zip, it seems a bit steep to point the cash cow finger at the Merc team having some kind of unfair financial advantage.

  • Michel Weij

    I agree regarding the payments, but surely you must agree that Mercedes overshadows all other factory teams with its capacity, and therefore money spent on the developement of the new “power units”.

  • McLarenfan

    Always the fingers start pointing yet it is Ferrari who have left the cover off the turbo to save weight.

  • RBC

    Renault don’t make cars? Ferrari isn’t in the business of making high performance engines and is part of FIAT? How does Mercedes have a greater capacity? It’s just a throw away line with no facts to support it.

  • =El Presidente=

    i actually think that Fezza found a brilliant solution there.
    The heavier turbo-housing is probably lighter than the cover (3Kg i think), and the weight is placed lower in the car, which gives a better centre of gravity.

    I am very exited to see all those new solutions that different teams found! The aero-wishbones of McL, the asymmetrical Lotus,the new steeringwheel (which is not used by all teams to save 200grams) and other cool new gadgets.

    I also really hope that we can see Marussia more ‘in the field’ (instead of dangling somewhere just in front of a GP-2 car)
    With Marussia , more than with CTH, you see the push every year, they outperformed CTH last year (especially the first half of the season) and back then they still had to make due with a way below par Cosworth lump. Now with a Fezza-engine bolted in, i’m really hoping they can finally break the cage,and leap forward to at least solid midfield.

    OT: I don’t feel Merc spend significantly more than Fezza or Renault. They are all huge brands, and they invest huge amounts of money.
    Everybody knew that Merc started work on their engine very early, giving up the first years of their comeback in competition, to be the best in 2014.

    Also one must not forget, that in ‘real life’ Mercedes also builds the best engines and cars of the three manufactures. Fezza maybe being the one making the fastest cars, we all know that Fezza’s are not of the most solid or neat buildquality. Not to even start on those French garage-doughters. 😉

    On the other side, Renault seems to be very good in the engine-mapping part of racing, and this is hugely important to laptimes nowadays.

    Time will tell. 😀 im ready! I really hope not to see 1 team dominating, but if we have to see 1 team dominating again… please let it be someone else! 😉

  • Michel Weij

    As you are too lazy to do the research, a quick check on Wikipedia revealed the following:
    Revenue in billions $ (using parent companies, as there are no figures shown for sub-divisions in Daimler, or Renault)
    Ferrari – 2.3
    FIAT – 84
    Daimler B – 114
    Renault – 41

    But, then it’s most probably just a throwaway line with no facts.

  • RBC

    And where is the data that says revenue of the parent company is correlated to investment in F1 engine research? Maybe a company with 100 different engine types across their range has 10 times the engine research facilities as a company with 10 engines across their range. So tell me how many engines Renault have in their line of cars, versus Mercedes. And given that Renault were beating Mercedes for the last 4 years in F1, does that mean that Mercedes were 3 times as dumb as Renault? What about number of high performance engines to regular engines. What about turbo engines to regular engines? What about profits versus revenues? A company has to have profits to invest in F1 right? How far do you want to take this analysis? A few basic numbers of the internet? As I said, where is your actual detailed data that PROVES that Mercedes have a vastly greater capacity to develop an F1 engine than anyone else?

  • McLarenfan

    Roll on FP1 we should see some form of action be it barbecues on wheels or exotic engine maps working, and the possibility of some teams being told your car ain’t right mate.
    How many will finish the race and how many will start the race???
    I need my fix now but there is no live racing yet.

  • Francois Duminy

    Wait till Honda joins the circus in 2015…they are the big-spenders!

  • F1Novice

    Aaaaaaaaah Mercedes High Performance Engines & Power Units …….. Built in Brixworth UK :0))))

  • Michel Weij

    I’m not taking the bait chopper – go figour yourself…….

  • =El Presidente=

    To me Renault does not make cars.. more like lumps of low-value-transport. 😛

    =eeeh Garcon! c’est ne pas normalle eh!=

  • RBC

    It’s called facts, not bait. Which is why you ran away. You took all the time needed to present your childish facts and as soon as they are criticized with adult facts you run away like a child. Now you are the one that is too lazy.