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Lauda: "Mercedes never made a proposal to Max"

  • Published on 21 Dec 2017 09:10
  • comments 12
  • By: Rob Veenstra

Niki Lauda says Mercedes never negotiated with Max Verstappen this year. F1 sensation Verstappen was critical of Red Bull earlier in 2017, but ultimately signed a lucrative new contract taking him through to late 2020.

It was believed the Dutch camp managed to push Verstappen's salary into the range of $25-35 million per year by holding talks with Mercedes. But team chairman Lauda insisted: "We never made a proposal to Max. I have a good relationship with Helmut Marko as we often talk and fly together. Today we talked about Verstappen and I told him that they could have saved a lot of money, since we never entered negotiations with him," he told Servus TV.

For his part, Marko insists Red Bull is happy with the new deal entered into by Verstappen. "We shared with him our plans for the future, guaranteeing that by 2020 we will have the best people and good options for the engine. We went to the Honda base in Sakura and the infrastructure is incredible. This convinced him."

"He took advantage of the situation to get a raise in his money, but on this matter he is far from Vettel and Hamilton," Marko insisted. "If he can win titles he will approach them, but we have good prize money on top of a low base salary," he revealed. (GMM)

Replies (12)

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  • Even if you had, you'd never admit it.

    • + 2
    • Dec 21 2017 - 09:40
  • RSV MILLE

    Posts: 698

    Niki more often doesn't tell the truth without lying...

    • + 0
    • Dec 21 2017 - 10:40
  • Good for Max. If Honda sxxks as much as in last 3 years, he would waste his best years.

    • + 0
    • Dec 21 2017 - 16:57
  • Nice to hear that he thinks the Sakura base is nice, but Honda's problem isnt Sakura as much as it is them being behind. I think they can catch up, and they need to if they want to stay relevant in F1.

    • + 0
    • Dec 21 2017 - 17:16
    • I hope Honda becomes a powerhouse, but I think Red Bull made a big mistake. I think it will take Honda about as long as it took Red Bull to create a competitive car.

      • + 0
      • Dec 21 2017 - 19:03
    • Well, they havent yet, seeing as its just Toro Rosso, and they are pretty much Red Bull's lab rat. I wont exactly hold my breath for it, but anything could happen for next year on the engine side of things.

      • + 0
      • Dec 21 2017 - 20:57
  • I'm still puzzled by the fact that Max signed up with Red Bull early. You have to think that as valuable as he is in 2017 he will be even more valuable in 2018. A year when Raikkonen, Bottas, have expiring contracts. I don' know what Honda could have possibly said that they didn't already say to McLaren, and you know what happened there. Still, Verstappen is talented and young enough that he can still have a couple of bad contracts and still have enough time to win everything.

    • + 0
    • Dec 21 2017 - 19:07
    • Same here, but I sorta dont think he had much of a choice. Marko has a lot of control over Verstappen at the moment. And he could very well have an exit clause in the deal.

      • + 0
      • Dec 21 2017 - 20:56
    • dr002

      Posts: 141

      Ok, so this is not a conspiracy theory, but more a gut feeling......

      Given Alonso's antics and the level of criticism from McLaren over the past three seasons, and given Japanese pride, I have a very strong feeling that toward the end of the 2016 season Honda made the decision that they would rather win with any team other than McLaren (eg even Sauber or Torro Rosso).

      If that decision was made, Honda could only have attained such an outcome by orchestrating a scenario where it was McLaren that instigated the split.

      From all that has gone on over the 2017 season in terms of Honda's engine development, and from what Marko has now been reported as saying, I get the feeling that Honda may have been surreptitiously developing the engine throughout 2017 at the expense of reliability, which also led to the desired effect of having McLaren sever their relationship.

      With Franz Tost stating at the press conference at the announcement of the Honda / Toro Rosso deal that they had been talking since the middle of the 2016 season, and if Max's decision to sign on for an extended period of time came about as a result of a visit to Sakura and Marko's guarantee that "by 2020 [they] will have the best people and good options for the engine", I can't help but think that there is more to the Honda / McLaren split than Honda would likely admit to, and that Verstappen is confident in a future Red Bull relationship with Honda.

      • + 0
      • Dec 22 2017 - 01:54
    • I honestly think it sounds a bit farfetched, especially given the amount of resources Honda poured into McLaren. And it doesnt really mix with how Honda upgraded their unit over the season. Had they wanted a split, they could've just done what Renault did, and paused upgrading the unit midseason. 'sides, the TR deal fell through at first, remember? It was basically just by McLaren trading supplier with TR that Honda remained in F1 for 2018. Nay, if it was done, it was done in some other way.

      • + 0
      • Dec 22 2017 - 06:19
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,168

      Actually, It makes perfect sense for Verstappen to commit to RedBull. First of all there was a massive sign-on fee of 10M followed by 25M+ plus bonuses. That alone would secure the top 3 of drivers. From a competitive point he would have seen what is happening with Honda, given the troubles that RENAULT had and the experience that was added by Redbull to get RENAULT to a decent level I see no reason why Honda would not improve using this experience.

      So next year the Honda will be in the back of the Torro's this will allow RedBull to determine if the PU of Honda is going the right way. Since the engine specifications are stable it will allow for the PU's to converge to a comparable performance level.

      I would love to see 3 teams fighting for the no1 spot. Unsettling and moving to another team makes no sense because the performance levels of RedBull are extremely high and them gaining access to a factory PU will allow them only to get better.

      Once the Honda PU is strong enough RedBull will swap their engine supply; I can even see this happening mid season considering their (toxic/ nee not so great) relationship with Renault.

      Once they have access to the Honda factory engine they will not allow a team like mcLaren/Williams to have access to this.

      • + 0
      • Dec 22 2017 - 13:13
    • Yeah, Red Bull wont let anyone touch Honda once if they get their clutches on them, and if both RB and TR end up with Honda, and the partnership works out well, then I dont think the Japs will mind. Red Bull is still desperately looking for a way out of their Renault deal, I fully agree with your remark about their relationship being toxic at the moment, and I predict it wont get better. Though I doubt they'd dare having another free fall situation (like the one they had in 2015, when TAG had to buy Renault units for them). They will be more careful. If Honda improves sufficiently, even if it just means equalling Renault (a possible goal, IMO), they will do the swap. At the very least Honda has done right in supplying their works team with enough parts and a constant stream of updates, and if any team would benefit from the Honda unit's compact design, it'd be Red Bull. They already tend to produce the best cars on the grid with the much bigger Renault unit, imagine a chassis built around the Honda.

      • + 0
      • Dec 22 2017 - 17:19

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