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Niki Lauda plans to quit Mercedes AMG Petronas: reports

The 3-time World Champion is said to be at loggerheads with team principal Toto Wolff.

Niki Lauda Toto Wolff 2015
Trouble in paradise? Team principal Toto Wolff and non-executive chairman Niki Lauda are at loggerheads

The feud between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton is now an open secret, with matters coming to a head at the recently concluded United States Grand Prix, where Hamilton won the race to secure his third world championship.

Rosberg won second place at that race, and was visibly displeased as Hamilton threw the 2nd place cap at him. The German threw the cap right back at the 2015 champion, with the incident, now dubbed ‘Capgate’, making the rounds of social media.

After Rosberg took victory at the Mexican Grand Prix this past weekend from Hamilton, the tension between the two reached a new high. Hamilton, interviewed about his teammate’s victory, said that he was glad there was “no gust of wind” that hampered Rosberg’s victory, referring to Rosberg’s complaint from the United States Grand Prix - that a gust of wind had forced him off the track, and Hamilton’s aggressive driving had made him run wide.

It appears now that this is not the only issue brewing within the team. According to several present at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, all is not well between Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff and their non-executive chairman, 3-time world champion Niki Lauda.

Lauda, who advises the team and speaks on their behalf following several races, was doing the same following the Mexican Grand Prix, but a Mercedes AMG Petronas spokesperson at post-race interviews said that Lauda was “not an official team spokesperson,” and that only Wolff had the authority to makae official statements on behalf of the team.

For his part, Wolff issued a statement through Mercedes saying he would not be giving interviews that weekend.

UK newspaper The Times says that they have been informed that Lauda “intends to leave the team,” and that this would come “possibly as soon as the end of this season.”

Official statements from Mercedes and Lauda are awaited.

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