Niki Lauda says Mercedes will not miss Nico Rosberg in F1 2017 and he believes his replacement Valtteri Bottas is “at least as good”.
Bottas was finally confirmed by Mercedes a few weeks ago, with the Finn drafted in alongside Lewis Hamilton after Rosberg's shock decision to quit the sport – the German making that decision just days after he had clinched the 2016 Formula One Drivers' title.
Asked by Sports Bild
this week if Rosberg will be missed this year, the non-executive Mercedes chairman replied: “Not at all. When he's gone, he's gone.
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“We had to come to terms with it and we did. We are now looking to the future and do not mourn Nico.
“Replacing 'a Rosberg' is not easy. But the combination of speed and experience spoke for Bottas.
“He now has the opportunity to drive the best Formula One car in the world. This always gives a racing driver a boost and also boosts his own personal performance. I believe Bottas is at least as good as Rosberg.”
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Lauda also went on to stress just how important it is was for Rosberg to be with Mercedes to achieve the success he has.
“Nico has improved so much because of the team and the car. We have won three Constructors' titles and Hamilton before won two Drivers' World Championships [with us in 2014 and 2015]. With the 'Silver Arrow, Nico had the car and potential in his hands. So you have to see it as a combination of Rosberg and Mercedes. Rosberg alone would not be World Champion - it is the car, team and Rosberg together,” explained the three-time F1 World Champion.
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