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Niki Lauda slams Sauber over EU complaint

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Niki Lauda has criticised Sauber and its team boss Monisha Kaltenborn for the complaint it lodged about the governance of Formula One to the European Commission.

Sauber and Force India lodged a complaint at the end of September due to unhappiness about unequal revenue sharing and how the Strategy Group shuts the smaller teams out of the decision-making process. There is no definite timeframe on a potential EU investigation should it find grounds to act on the complaint, but it would likely be a lengthy process.

Three-time world champion Lauda, non-executive chairman of newly-crowned world champions Mercedes, thinks Sauber has acted against the interests of Formula One.

"Sauber is part of a racing community," he told Swiss weekly Handelszeitung. "They signed the Concorde Agreement where everything was stipulated to the last detail, and then they say 'This is suddenly not valid.' I don't understand the reasoning. Like every other sport, F1 has always had teams that win and teams that are behind."

"You can't have a team that is steadily accumulating debt and then suddenly as a last resort tries to bring the whole system into question. Everyone is responsible for himself. Sauber should fight first against their own inabilities."

Lauda made a reference to this year's Australian Grand Prix, where Giedo van der Garde took Sauber to court for breaching his 2015 contract by signing two other drivers, to back up his argument.

"Monisha Kaltenborn has her own way of running a team. In my opinion, there have been quite a few discrepancies that were close to the limit. If drivers who have paid cannot race, or their cars are confiscated before a grand prix, that is just stupid."