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Red Bull Ring removes Lauda from corner names

May 16, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

Canadian F1 Grand Prix - Race Getty Images

Red Bull has removed Niki Lauda’s name from one of the corners at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg ahead of the revived Austria Grand Prix, set to take place next month.

The race was last held back in 2003 at the then-named A1 Ring, but it fell into a state of disrepair and lost the rights to host Formula 1. However, it was bought by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, and reopened in 2011. It has since held rounds of the FIA Formula 2 and German DTM championship, and earned a place on the 2014 calendar last year.

However, ahead of the race on June 22, the circuit has removed the name of Niki Lauda from one of its corners (Niki Lauda Kurve), and the Austrian three-time world champion is less than impressed.

“I am very disappointed,” he explained to Austrian publication Kleine Zeitung. “The only reason I can think of is that I am now at Mercedes and we are beating Red Bull.”

Lauda took up a non-executive director role with Mercedes in 2012, and has played a part in the team’s recent success.

That said, Gerhard Berger has also lost his corner name, and he has enjoyed good relations with Red Bull over the years. Berger was one of the driving forces behind Toro Rosso’s acquisition of Minardi in 2005, and owned 50% of the team until 2008 when he sold the shares to Mateschitz. His corner has been renamed the Wurth Kurve.

Although this could be understood to be a subtle snub to Lauda, it is perhaps more likely that sponsorship has led to the renaming of the corner. The only driver name to remain on the circuit is that of Jochen Rindt, who was Austria’s first world champion back in 1970.

  1. techmeister1 - May 16, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    You can bet sponsor names for corners help pay the way so I would not be concerned if I were Lauda. His legacy is still intact though I don’t always agree with his politics.

  2. testover6370 - May 16, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Wow, that is petty.

  3. kitnamania13 - May 16, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Stupid move by Red Bull, who I really thought were smarter than this. Does Red Bull really need to sell corner naming rights to sponsors? They’re rolling in money as it is.

  4. worknman24hours - May 16, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    More Red BULL SXXX.

    As others here have said,what a petty,sad way to treat the racing public and the legends they celebrate.

  5. lukedunphysscienceproject - May 16, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    Tradition and respect mean nothing to Red Bull. If they squeeze out a few more bucks by sticking a corporate name on a corner, they will. No one should be surprised. Lauda shouldn’t take it personally. RB just doesn’t know any better.

  6. manik56 - May 16, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    I never thought anyone would eclipse Ferrari as the biggest villain in F1, but Red Bull has. I hope they enjoy getting beat like a drum on their own track. Lauda himself probably wants to get in the car for that race.

    • techmeister1 - May 16, 2014 at 8:06 PM

      FYI – Ferrari was never a villain in F1 or anywhere else. In fact they are one of the most respected teams in F1 and in all forms of motorsport. Most drivers want to drive for Ferrari and for good reason. Even though they have stumbled badly the past 5 years, they have integrity and respect that cheaters like Red B.S. Racing could never buy.

      • patrickla818 - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:57 PM

        YOU are out of your effing mind Tech!! Ferrari wanted their drivers in the car no matter what the conditions! See the Japan race in which Lauda himself pulled out of because of the terrible conditions! Lauda himself was burned terribly because having to race without regards to human safety! Learn something! There is a great Documentary on cable about F1 racing in the 70’s, when Jackie Stewart was trying his best to have more safety implemented! Most drivers would not wear seatbelts because it was better to be thrown from the car in a crash than to be trapped and burned, like Lauda as well as the Irish driver who was burned to a crisp!

  7. techmeister1 - May 16, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    As much as I believe Red B.S. Racing to be the SCUM of the earth, I suspect the corner naming had nothing to do with the F1 team and was a track management decision. Dietrich Mateschitz actually seems to be a pretty decent guy who happened to pick some unscrupulous aresholes to run the F1 program.

  8. patrickla818 - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Then how about putting up some other symbol or signage to show respect for a driver who did so much for F! racing? Would that be so hard for Red Bull?

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