JANUARY 26, 2017
Bottas as good as Rosberg says Lauda
Niki Lauda says Mercedes will not miss reigning world champion Nico Rosberg in 2017.
"Not at all," said the team's famous chairman and F1 legend, when asked by Sport Bild if Mercedes will miss Rosberg.
Earlier, Lauda had reacted with frustration and even apparent anger when Rosberg stunned the team and the F1 world by suddenly quitting the sport.
"Now he's gone, he's gone," Lauda added. "We had to come to terms with it and we did. We are now looking into the future and do not mourn Rosberg at all."
For 2017, Mercedes has brought in former Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, following complex negotiations that involved financial compensation and also moves for Paddy Lowe and Felipe Massa in the periphery.
"Replacing Rosberg was not easy," Lauda admits.
"Bottas now has the opportunity to drive the best formula one car in the world, which always gives a racing driver a personal boost.
"I believe he is at least as good as Rosberg," the triple world champion added. "Nico was able to improve so much, because of the team and the car.
"So you have to see it as a combination of Rosberg and Mercedes. Rosberg alone would not have been world champion," said Lauda.