F1: Talks of Lauda, Rosberg leaving Mercedes in near future surface
Niki Lauda is on the brink of quitting Mercedes, reportedly over a dispute with fellow team chief Toto Wolff about Red Bull.
That is the claim of multiple British newspapers, including the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, from the scene of last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
"Relationships are said to be so bad that Lauda has been telling close friends that he could quit at any time," the London newspaper The Times said.
The report added that Wolff is at odds over an issue involving Red Bull, after Mercedes team chairman and F1 legend Lauda reportedly shook hands with Dietrich Mateschitz on an engine deal that Wolff later vetoed.
The Times went on to add that Wolff is also unpopular at present with Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt.
Meanwhile, 2016 could be Nico Rosberg’s final season in silver, former F1 driver Mika Salo has predicted.
Salo, who drove for several F1 teams including Ferrari and Toyota, told broadcaster MTV that the situation will become untenable for the German if he loses a third straight title to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton next year.
"Nico is in a difficult situation," he said. "Nico is fast, and sometimes even faster, yet he still has not won a championship.
"If he doesn’t win it next year, he may have to go," Salo, now a broadcaster and occasional F1 steward, added.
Salo thinks a leading candidate to replace Rosberg would be fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas.
"Next year is very important for Valtteri," he said. "He cannot afford a less than perfect season, and must then hope that something better opens up.
"The most probable option for him would be Mercedes. Then the championships can follow," Salo added.