OCTOBER 14, 2016

2020 contract for Mercedes bosses logical says Lauda

Mercedes chiefs Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff are in talks to stay with the reigning world champions beyond 2017.

Although both Austrians are actually shareholders in the currently dominant German team, their management roles - Wolff as team boss and Lauda as chairman - expire next year.

F1 legend Lauda told Osterreich: "Toto and I are negotiating a renewal of the contracts that expire next year.

"How long I renew for, I cannot say. But the Concorde Agreement runs until 2020, so it would be logical to cover this period.

"I believe that will be possible," the triple world champion added.

Osterreich said Lauda's current salary is EUR 750,000, but he might be seeking a bonus based on Mercedes' three consecutive world championships since 2014.

Also staying at Mercedes is Nico Rosberg, who negotiated his own new contract earlier this year.

The German is 33 points ahead of back-to-back world champion Lewis Hamilton with four races to go, but Lauda said Hamilton's bad luck does not explain the situation.

"Nico would not be champion for nothing, because he has had a perfect season and improved big time," Lauda said.

"Nico changed completely this year. In previous years Lewis had a slight advantage, but through rigorous work and fast racing, Rosberg has been the better this year," he added.

However, Hamilton in particular has been dogged by engine problems, and Lauda insists that the four-race run to the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi must now be clean.

"We need to ensure that both cars run in the last four races until the last lap," he said, also insisting that tension between Rosberg and Hamilton is not a problem.

"Both push each other to excel and this drives the whole team, especially on car development," said Lauda.