Lauda: We have never talked with Vettel

Niki Lauda with Sebastian Vettel

Niki Lauda with Sebastian Vettel

With the summer sun baking down on Hungaroring near Budapest, the silly season has well and truly arrived in the Formula 1 paddock, now the big talk is about Sebastian Vettel, with reports suggesting that the Red Bull driver could be on the move to Mercedes in 2016.

Nico Rosberg, Vettel’s potential teammate for that year, told Britain’s Sky that he that thought speculating about a season yet two years away was “not silly, it’s what comes after silly”.

Others think it’s just contract extension time. Vettel is firmly under contract to Red Bull for another year, so – as a quadruple world champion – perhaps he is just lighting a report or two to drive up his price.

“I think Sebastian Vettel is playing very clever contract poker, just as Adrian Newey did a few weeks ago,” ex Formula 1 driver Alex Wurz told Germany’s Sky in Hungary.

Which two will be Mercedes drivers in 2015?

Which two will be Mercedes drivers in 2016?

Indeed, the ever plain-speaking Niki Lauda moved to rubbish the speculation altogether.

“We have never talked with Vettel about a contract or a cooperation,” the Mercedes team chairman told Auto Motor und Sport. “Why? Because we have two drivers.

“We have just extended the contract with Nico, and with Lewis (Hamilton) we are talking now. There is the desire to extend his contract as well. It makes no sense for us to look for a new driver,” Lauda added, insisting that would “also be true even if Fernando Alonso was on the market”.

Amazingly, a wild report has been floating around that Spaniard Alonso made a visit to Williams‘ Grove factory recently. Actually, he did – Sir Frank Williams is an aviation enthusiast, and a 58-year-old, Madrid-born Fernando Alonso is a top Airbus official.

Lauda advises the 32-year-old Ferrari driving-Alonso to stay put, “If he has performance clauses in his contract that allow him to go where he wants, where could he go? He can’t go to Mercedes. Back to McLaren with an engine he cannot judge beforehand? That’s a big risk.” (GMM)