Mercedes baffled by lack of TV coverage

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Niki Lauda wants to speak to Bernie Ecclestone next week about why the Mercedes cars did not feature in television coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Social media was awash with comments – and wild conspiracy theories – during the Suzuka race about why the world television feed barely featured any of the Mercedes cars.

Mercedes itself tweeted a smiley face response to a comment in the closing stages of the race when the Silver Arrows were finally shown. 

Furthermore, there were only restricted views of the pitstops, and a continued lack of garage coverage.

Lauda baffled

Lauda, who is non-executive chairman of Mercedes, said that the situation puzzled him and he wanted to take up the matter with Ecclestone.

"It was funny, to be honest, because I was watching TV, it rolled along and funny enough I saw Saubers and a lot of Honda cars," he said.

"I don't know why: someone must do the filming here, I have to ask what is wrong with him.

"So I have to ask – I want to see Bernie next week and ask him what is the reason? If you ask the question, you get an answer.

"At the moment I can't say much but it was funny today, with the pitstop of Lewis, the leader, you only saw him driving out. You didn't even see how he changed his wheels, so it was interesting to see."

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff added: "I wasn't sure during the race where we were, I needed to look on the timing screens as I couldn't see cars on track.

"Our first priority is to win the race, and if that is not enough, then this is beyond my control."

Engine links

One theory was that the lack of coverage could have been related to Mercedes refusing to supply engines to Red Bull, whose future in F1 is uncertain.

At the Belgian Grand Prix, Ecclestone has warned the German car manufacturer about such a stance.

"They would rather not, I think….but they ought to think carefully about not giving one," he said about Mercedes' position back then.

However, both Wolff and Lauda doubted that the reason was related to that situation.

"I don't think that this is linked," explained Wolff. "Obviously spectacular TV pictures are important and some of the shots were spectacular, with good fighting midfield, and this is where the camera was on."

Lauda added: "You cannot go in that direction [to link it with the engine situation] because I spoke to Bernie on a couple of occasions about this engine deal and it was very clear that [Dietrich] Mateschitz never really approached us, for the reasons that he never really liked Mercedes from the past.

"It was nothing to do with today."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Japanese GP
Track Suzuka
Teams Mercedes
Article type Breaking news