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Interview with Niki Lauda: & # 34; Have consistently developed the car further & # 34;

Interview with Niki Lauda
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What was the key to success?

L auda: To have a team that delivers top performance for the first time. Something like this only comes about in a process that takes years. We have the right people in the right place, and they are all pulling together in one direction. Brixworth and Brackley grew together. This resulted in an innovative, superior technical concept.

Is the harmony factor important?

Lauda : I wouldn't say. There are always arguments between the auto faction and the motorists. The important thing is to find the right compromise. That was a crucial step right now. Because the engine concept was completely new. If the merger with the car doesn't work optimally, you have a problem. With the coolers, the aerodynamics.

Why did we succeed? Quite simply: our car was faster than the others. Depending on the route, sometimes more, sometimes less, between three to six tenths per lap in a race trim. And we have consistently developed the car up to Suzuka. In the past we always stopped after the summer break and the others carried on. The mistake didn't happen to us again. And that will pay off for next year too. Because the regulations remain almost the same.

Red Bull drew the right conclusions from new regulations in 2009 and then won the world championship four times. Can you expect something similar from Mercedes?

Lauda: It is easier to start a new era with a good basic concept. So you already know what works. But be careful: every year can bring surprises. We will certainly continue to develop our car and our engine. I can't say whether it will affect a winning streak, like at Red Bull. I'm not a clairvoyant.

What mistakes were made at Mercedes in the past?

Lauda: The basic mistake was that Brixworth and Brackley didn't work together. Then we had to swap a few people in the team. In the end, we also solved our tire problem. Hamilton's commitment was tooone of the main factors for today's success. Since then, it has all got a momentum in the right direction. Every piece of the puzzle was put where it belonged.

Who are the architects of success?

Lauda: On the engine side, Andy Cowell and his crew. At the car Paddy Lowe and Aldo Costa. And Toto Wolff, who coordinated everything with one another. Our team is perfectly positioned in all positions.

And Ross Brawn?

Lauda: Ross built the team. He started with fifth place and finished with second place. We owe this development to him. We have found the ideal successor in Paddy Lowe. The transition went seamlessly, without us falling into a hole.

The world title cost 250 million euros. 1,250 people made it possible. Is that the price for success?

Lauda: The big teams all ask themselves: What is success worth to us. In our case, I can say: Mercedes’s financial commitment is decreasing thanks to its successes. We always get more in return. The advertising value is absolutely in proportion to what Mercedes spends on it.

Wouldn't everyone have become world champions with this superior car?

Lauda: No. To get a car like this, you need a pair of drivers who are motivated at the highest level in the same direction and thus promote the development of the car. In the shortest possible time. If the two of them only drive for themselves, and both work in different directions, you will only have half the success. Nico and Lewis cheered each other on to top performances. If Lewis' Nico got one on the lid, he would hit back in the next race. And vice versa.

How difficult is it to keep two top drivers under control?

Lauda: There were one or two outliers. But after the collision at Spa there was an internal debate, and since then the subject has been settled.

You were a racing driver, team boss, foreign minister. What was the most interesting phase in your career?

Lauda: I would almost say: Today. I'm already thinking about how we can get even better next year. You can't sit back for a second in the business. But as Foreign Minister, I must also be interested in major Formula 1 politics. Because it also affects the team. The discussion about engine development, tokens back and forthand all that bullshit must be kept under control too. This combination makes my job today so interesting.

How great is your influence as a member of the racing team's board of directors?

Lauda: I get involved everywhere, also because, thanks to my position and credibility, I can afford to go everywhere. People like Bernie know that I don't rumpalave long, like many in this business, but get to the point quickly. I can also go to any motorhome to negotiate solutions with the other team bosses. We don't always find some, but at least there are approaches where I try to represent the overall interests of the sport and our interests.

How do you rate the revival of the Silver Arrow myth? ?

Lauda: It revived itself. Because of the success. What use is the most beautiful myth if you don't win? The victories also brought the past to light again.

What else do you know about the old era?

Lauda: I knew Fangio personally and also admired him. We were still driving in Argentina back then. That's when he shook my hand for the first time. The old W196 looks awesome. I rode it once and was immediately shocked because the seating position and the arrangement of the pedals were so different. It was a mystery to me how you could drive these things fast. They were incredibly fast on the straights, but comparatively hardly had any brakes on them. But Fangio was Fangio. We live in a high-tech era today. I think more about today and tomorrow than about yesterday.


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