Niki Lauda has urged Nico Rosberg to “sort himself out” after a mediocre start to the 2015 season.
German Rosberg fought teammate Lewis Hamilton all the way to the 2014 title finale, but so far this year has conspicuously lagged behind the new reigning champion.
“Yes, Nico is definitely a little bit behind Lewis,” F1 legend Lauda, the team chairman at Mercedes, told the Daily Mail. “He has to sort himself out.”
It is a particularly awkward time for Rosberg to be struggling, after both silver-clad drivers were beaten in Malaysia by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
It prompted boss Toto Wolff to muse that the team might have to stop being so fair with its strategies, and instead make decisions to win races that might be “unpopular with the Germans or the English”.
Rosberg has denied the implication that, as the struggling driver, he might now become the ‘number 2’.
But he does seem to admit that he could be on the receiving end of less favourable race strategies.
“For me as a driver this is a bit of an uneasy situation,” Rosberg admitted. “But if it happens, it happens,” he told F1’s official website.
“First and foremost I drive for Mercedes — and in this early stage of the season we have to focus primarily on the team. The team has priority.” (GMM)