Niki Lauda: Ferrari threat won’t make Mercedes rush F1 engine upgrades

niki lauda

Mercedes will not rush bringing in upgrades for its Formula 1 engine, despite the resurgent Ferrari having dramatically reduced its power deficit, says Niki Lauda.

The German car manufacturer is facing increased pressure this year from its Italian rival, with Ferrari’s progress having resulted in Sebastian Vettel’s victory in Malaysia.

But although things are closer than Mercedes would have liked, the team is adamant that it must not panic and try to rush through power unit tweaks.

That is despite Ferrari using new engines in Bahrain, and being set to unleash some of its development tokens to deliver upgrades in the not too distant future.

Asked by Gazzetta dello Sport whether Mercedes would bring new engines soon, non-executive chairman Lauda said: “No, this has only been the fourth race.

“What may appear as a disadvantage now will become an opportunity when it really counts, in the second half of the season.”

Lauda did make it clear, however, that big car upgrades would be coming for the next race in Spain.

“The right thing to do is to not change work programmes on a whim. In any case, we’ll have big changes to the car at Barcelona.”

FERRARI CHALLENGE NO SURPRISE

Although few predicted such progress from Ferrari after its disappointing 2014 campaign, Lauda admitted that he was not surprised that Mercedes was facing a strong rival.

“The truth is that you are always under pressure in Formula 1,” he said.

“The anomaly was last year, not this one, and in fact I was never under the illusion we could keep on dominating.

“I’m not surprised really, because their resurgence is deeply rooted in last season, in the good job done by [James] Allison, in the restructuring of the team.”

PRAISE FOR DRIVERS

Lauda also has faith that Nico Rosberg has recovered from early season frustrations, judging by his strong race at Sakhir last weekend.

“Bahrain marked Rosberg returning to his best.

“Sometimes drivers aren’t happy with themselves and the car, it happens, but you need to come out of these situations by yourself. Nico seems to have done that.”

But he added that both Hamilton and Vettel are at their peak at present.

“These are two exceptional professionals,” he said. “Lewis at the moment seems invincible: you just need to look at his string of victories from last season to the beginning of this one.

“Changing air has been good for Vettel, he has found new stimulus.

“I don’t know exactly what caused his slump last year, maybe he didn’t feel well with the car.

“The fact is, he is now benefiting from the fantastic job done by Ferrari.”

Source: http://www.autosport.com/

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