Lauda denies becoming Mercedes’ new ‘strong man’

Niki Lauda has vowed “no compromise” amid speculation he is the new strong man at Mercedes.

Some insiders have drawn a parallel between the triple world champion’s new arrival as non-executive chairman at Mercedes and his role at Jaguar early last decade. Ten years ago, Lauda joined Jaguar and tension between him and team boss Bobby Rahal led to the great Austrian’s ascension to the throne. So should Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug be worried now?

“I certainly will not compromise,” 63-year-old Lauda told Osterreich in an interview. “Together, we must ensure that Mercedes is able to compete next season.

“I’m not an engineer, so I will see that the right people are working with the right priorities and figure out why it did not work out this year,” said Lauda.

He baulked at reports he is set to take over from Briton Brawn as the real ‘strong man’ of Mercedes.

“That’s still (going to be) the team principal Ross Brawn, who is responsible for the development of the car and the team,” Lauda insisted to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. “I’m something like the link between the racing headquarters in the UK and the company headquarters in Germany,” he explained.

Indeed, Lauda will have little to do with the operation of the team at grands prix, as he is continuing as a television pundit for the German broadcaster RTL.