Jul 27, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci has brushed off comments from Niki Lauda about the team’s 2014 car, saying that the Austrian’s comments were taken out of context.
Three-time world champion Lauda said in a recent interview that Ferrari’s F14 T car was “s***”, as the Italian marque struggles to keep up with Mercedes at the front of the field. So far this year, the team has scored just one podium finish, and currently ranks fourth in the constructors’ championship.
Lauda did apologize to Mattiacci in Hungary for making the comments, and the Ferrari team principal said in Friday’s FIA press conference that he was not bothered by what had been said.
“Everybody is free to make comments,” he said. “I’m happy that they have time to think about our cars because I don’t have enough time to think about other teams’ cars.
“I think it’s a statement taken out of context. He has a big title and, as I said, I have the utmost respect for Niki Lauda. For me, he is an iconic figure of my childhood and particularly for Ferrari.
“Today he came to our pit to apologize. I think it’s clear he is a friend of Ferrari and I have the utmost respect for Niki, so chapter closed.”
Mattiacci also praised lead driver Fernando Alonso for his efforts at the last two grands prix, where he has enjoyed some brilliant on-track battles with Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.
“I think when you see your driver that is driving like that, that is very motivating for the team,” he said.
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