Son thinks Lauda would have ended Mercedes slump

"He would have pestered his people until they found out why"


19 May 2024 - 07:45
Son thinks Lauda would have ended (…)

The great Niki Lauda may have ended Mercedes’ three-year performance slump by now.

That’s the view of the former Mercedes co-owner and non-executive chairman’s son Mathias Lauda, as the once-dominant team continues to struggle in the current ’ground effect’ rules era.

43-year-old Lauda thinks the problem is clearly the chassis.

"The most important element in Formula 1 at the moment is the chassis," he told Osterreich newspaper. "The more downforce, the better.

"McLaren has the better package - the engine is the same in both. Mercedes just can’t get out of the slump."

F1 legend Niki Lauda died at the age of 70 in mid-2019, when Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were still dominating the previous rules era that ended in 2021.

Although with a non-executive role, Lauda was best known in his last years as a close advisor and confidante of team boss and fellow Austrian Toto Wolff.

Mathias Lauda thinks Wolff is now badly missing that input.

"He would have pestered his people until they found out why the car wasn’t working," Lauda jr said. "He would have simply not let up and would have dug into every last detail."

Mercedes’ former executive director Paddy Lowe, however, reveals the extent of the team’s current trough.

"Modern F1 is mainly about optimising details," he told Auto Bild. "It’s generally difficult to implement major changes. Very difficult to catch up.

"If, for whatever reason, you’ve lost three, four or six months, you’re behind for a long time, even if you’re actually doing better. This is the situation Mercedes is currently in.

"And whether the connection can be re-established at all is uncertain. It can even get worse," Lowe added.

The fifth anniversary of Lauda’s death is now looming.

"He is always there," Mathias said. "Whether I hear a song that reminds me of him or when I think about how he approached his life.

"I am getting older too, and many of his characteristics are coming out in me."

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