Niki Lauda: Easier For Ferrari To Develop Than Us; First Three Races “Decisive”

Niki Lauda, Mercedes F1 team chairman has said that the first three races of 2016 will be decisive to show what kind of battle Ferrari will give to Mercedes this season, noting that it is easier for the Italian team to develop its cars than Mercedes, as it is getting diminishing returns.

Niki Lauda: Easier For Ferrari To Develop Than Us
Lauda won two of his three world championships with Ferrari and is still a revered figure at Maranello, despite leading their rival team today.

Speaking to Gazetta dello Sport during his Christmas ski break in Austria, the 66 year old said, “Ferrari can develop its chassis, it aerodynamics and also its power unit more easily than us. We were very strong in preparing the hybrid engine at the outset with all its implications. But at this point our margin for improvement has reduced.

“That said we have more experience (with hybrid) than the others and we know where to intervene to hold onto the margin we had right up to the last race.

Niki Lauda: Easier for Ferrari to develop than us; first three races “decisive”
Niki Lauda: Easier for Ferrari to develop than us; first three races “decisive”

“I think the first three races of 2016 will tell us how the whole 2016 season is going to go.” Lauda won two of his three world championships with Ferrari and is still a revered figure at Maranello, despite leading their rival team today. He was brought in as a consultant to Ferrari in the early 1990s, when Luca di Montezemolo called him in prior to Jean Todt’s arrival, as Ferrari looked to try to find the winning way again.

The Scuderia has not won the world championship since 2007, as McLaren, Brawn, Red Bull and Mercedes have taken the titles since then, but Lauda sees all the hallmarks of a Ferrari recovery and expects them to be strong in 2016, “Ferrari is Ferrari again; you can see it in the way they have gained ground from year to year,” he said. “Vettel has given us something to think about; he’s been quick, he’s won, his hunger has grown.

Niki Lauda: Easier For Ferrari To Develop Than Us; First Three Races “Decisive”
Sebastian Vettel joined Ferrari in November 2014 after 15 years at Red Bull Racing

“They are already on the right track to make more progress.” As well as the battle with Ferrari on track, Lauda’s horizon is filled with the discussions with them and with Honda and Renault about what kind of low cost engine package the manufacturers can offer to the smaller teams. The deadline for the manufacturers to submit their proposal is January 15th. FIA president Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone have said they want to have the plan in place by January 31st.

Todt and Bernie Ecclestone still have the controversial mandate from the FIA World Council “to make recommendations and decisions regarding a number of pressing issues in Formula One such as governance, Power Units and cost reduction,” in their back pockets so the pressure is on the manufacturers to go far enough in offering engines at a sustainable price by the January 15 deadline.

Lauda refutes Ecclestone’s pre-Christmas insinuations that Mercedes and Ferrari are collaborating, instead saying that they share certain common concerns, but underlining that they remain rivals determined to beat each other, rather than allies.

What do you think? Will Ferrari be on Mercedes’ pace from the outset in 2016?

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Author: Allan Bangirana

Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre who is passionate about tech, games, entertainment and lifestyle news. He enjoys writing about anime and many other topics.

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