Mercedes’ non-executive Director and former F1 driver and World Champion Niki Lauda has stated that 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg would have been unable to secure the title without Mercedes.
“Nico has improved so much because of the team and the car,” Lauda told German media.
“We have won three constructors’ titles and Hamilton before won two drivers’ world championships.
“With the Silver Arrow, Nico had the car and potential in his hands.
“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.”
Despite Rosberg’s shock announcement that he was leaving Mercedes came only five days after he secured the Championship, Lauda stated that the team would not miss him as the 2017 season begins.
“When he’s gone, he’s gone,” the three-time World Champion added.
“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.”
Since then, the team has managed to secure former Williams driver Valtteri Bottas as Rosberg’s replacement for 2017. While some have suggested that the Finn is being used as a waiting game for when McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel become available in 2018, Lauda insists that this is not the case.
“Replacing Rosberg was not easy, but the combination of speed and experience spoke for Bottas,” Lauda spoke.
“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.“