Mercedes F1 chief Niki Lauda is clearly still angry with Nico Rosberg, months after the 2016 World Champion decided to end his career at the pinnacle of the sport and thus leaving the scene on a personal peak, but at the same time leaving his team high and dry.
When asked by Sports Bild if Mercedes would miss Rosberg, Lauda declared, “Not at all. When he’s gone, he’s gone. We had to come to terms with it and we did. We are now looking to the future and do not mourn Rosberg at all.”
As for the German’s world title, Lauda did not mince his words, “You have to see it as a combination of Rosberg and Mercedes. Rosberg alone would not be World Champion – it is the car, team and Rosberg together.”
“Nico has improved so much because of the team and the car. We have won three constructors’ titles and [Lewis] Hamilton before won two drivers’ world championships. With the Silver Arrow, Nico had the car and potential in his hands,” added Lauda.
Recently, during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Rosberg told his audience that “life has more to offer than driving around in circles.
Ironically Lauda, who first quit Formula 1 in 1979 because he no longer wanted to “drive around in circles”, has been Rosberg’s biggest critic since the German announced he had decided to retire from the sport a mere five days after securing his first title.
Since then Mercedes negotiated a deal with Williams for the release of Valtteri Bottas, who will team-up with Lewis Hamilton to spearhead the Silver Arrows 2017 campaign.
“Replacing Rosberg was not easy,” said Lauda. “But the combination of speed and experience spoke for Bottas. I believe Bottas is at least as good as Rosberg.”
“He now has the opportunity to drive the best Formula One car in the world. This always gives a racing driver a boost and also boosts his own personal performance,” added Lauda.