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Motorsport | Formula 1

Lauda apologises for derogatory comment



Niki Lauda has apologised to Ferrari for making critical comments about his former team's Formula One car.

The retired triple champion, who is now non-executive chairman of championship leaders Mercedes and also a television pundit, was quoted in Spanish newspaper El Pais last weekend as saying Fernando Alonso was driving a rubbish car.

Mercedes have won nine out of 10 races this year with Britain's Lewis Hamilton and Germany's Nico Rosberg. Ferrari have not won a race for more than a year and McLaren since 2012.

Lauda is famous in Formula One for his direct opinions, accompanied with earthy expressions that were brought to a cinema audience last year with the release of the Hollywood movie 'Rush' about his 1976 rivalry with James Hunt.

Ferrari principal Marco Mattiacci told reporters at the Hungarian Grand Prix that Lauda - who won his first two titles with the Italian team in 1975 and 1977 - was forgiven.

"I have the utmost respect for Niki Lauda. For me he is an iconic figure of my childhood and in particular for Ferrari," he said.

"Today he came to our pit to apologise and honestly I feel very uncomfortable...receiving an excuse from such a champion that I think has been put in the middle of something.

"I think it's clear he is a friend of Ferrari and I have utmost respect for Niki. So chapter closed."

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