HUNGARORING, July 25, 2014 (F1plus/Graham Keilloh).- Niki Lauda is known for his shooting from the hip with his public pronouncements.
During the German Grand Prix weekend a week ago the Mercedes non-executive chairman and former Ferrari world champion as a driver did so again by describing the current Ferrari F14 T machine as ‘s*it’ in an interview with a Spanish newspaper.
Lauda has in the days since apologised via the press, and in Hungary today Ferrari’s team principal Marco Mattiacci said that he reckoned however that Lauda’s comments were taken out of context, and that from his perspective there was never a big issue associated with them.
“Everybody is free to make comments – I’m happy that they time to think about our car as I don’t have time to think about other teams’ cars” said Mattiacci.
“I know what you are referring to” Mattiacci said about the Lauda matter, “I think it is a statement taken out of context, with a big title, and I have the utmost respect for Niki Lauda, for me he is an iconic figure from my childhood and in particular for Ferrari.”
Lauda was spotted in the Ferrari pit during Friday practice at the Hungaroring today. Mattaicci confirmed that Lauda had apologised to the team in person today, and that as far as he was concerned it the matter was “closed”.
“Today he came to our pit to apologise and I think that I honestly felt uncomfortable that Marco Mattiacci or Ferrari in this case should receive an excuse from such a champion who has been put in the middle of something” he said.
“But it is clear he is a friend of Ferrari, and again I have the utmost respect for Niki, so chapter closed.”