Formula One legend Niki Lauda, who is the non-executive chairman of Mercedes AMG Petronas, said in an interview following the Japanese Grand Prix that he felt coverage of Mercedes had been lacking at the Japanese GP at Suzuka, despite a strong performance by the team that saw Lewis Hamilton take the win ahead of his teammate Nico Rosberg, who was on pole ahead of the race.
Lauda told assembled reporters that he would be talking to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone about the issue imminently. The Austrian and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff both said they found it “funny” that Rosberg and Hamilton “barely appeared” in TV footage and photographs of the event.
"I want to see Bernie next week and ask him what is the reason. At the moment I can't say much but it was funny today that even the pitstop of Lewis - the leader - you only saw him driving out,” he told reporters.
It is alleged that Ecclestone is upset with Mercedes’ decision to not give engines to Austrian team Red Bull, and that this is the reason for the apparently curtailed media coverage. Red Bull recently ended their relationship with French automakers Renault, who supply their engines, and approached Mercedes to supply power units to them from next season – an offer Mercedes refused.
They said at the time that they were “at an advantage,” which would make it tactically improper to provide Red Bull units. Hamilton did not want the deal to go through either, saying in several interviews that he felt it would be a foolhardy move.
The team are now said to be approaching Ferrari for engines for the 2016 season.
Ecclestone champions team Red Bull, and personally attempted to broker a deal between Red Bull and Ferrari. Chairman Sergio Marchionne said he was ‘afraid’, however, of the backlash he might face at the Prancing Horse should that deal happen. In an interview earlier this week, Ecclestone told Autosport "For Formula 1, he [Marchionne] would love to do it, to get Red Bull competitive with an engine, but he doesn't want to damage the team he runs.”