Lauda moves to diffuse Vettel to Mercedes reports

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing is interviewed by Niki Lauda (AUT) on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Race, Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday 22 July 2012.
Niki Lauda with Sebastian Vettel

Niki Lauda has moved to play down reports that Mercedes is making a serious bid to secure the services of world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Red Bull’s Helmut Marko revealed on Sunday that Lauda, Mercedes shareholder and chairman, “should absolutely be trying to get Vettel”.

Lauda replied to Bild am Sonntag newspaper: “I continued what (former motor sport director Norbert) Haug began.”

But speaking to Austria’s Osterreich newspaper, 64-year-old Lauda played down suggestions his bid for Vettel is serious.

“Forget it,” the outspoken triple world champion insisted. “We’re not trying to get him, as he has signed a contract with Red Bull until forever.”

Lauda said Mercedes is very happy with its current driver lineup, comprising Nico Rosberg alongside new signing Lewis Hamilton.

“With Hamilton and Rosberg we have the best pairing (in Formula 1),” he insisted. “The two push each other forward positively, and the driver change has motivated the whole team.”

Lauda also confirmed reports that Mercedes has engaged former BMW and Renault racer Robert Kubica as a driver for the team’s sophisticated simulator at Brackley.

“He brings a lot of experience,” said Lauda, referring to the Pole, who is bidding to return to Formula 1 in the future following his near-fatal rally crash in 2011.

“Due to the limited testing, the simulators are becoming very important.” (GMM)