Jul.13 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Niki Lauda has hit back at suggestions he lacks “respect” for Ferrari.

Last week, the F1 legend’s colleague Toto Wolff had to apologise after Lauda provocatively suggested that Ferrari is better at making spaghetti than cars capable of taking on the might of Mercedes.

But Lauda, Mercedes’ team chairman, said the apology was unnecessary.

“The Italians know that Ferrari will always be number 1 in my heart,” he told the Swiss newspaper Blick.

“At Ferrari I’ve been through it all: 15 wins, two of my three world titles, tragedies with the last rites. More emotions is not possible. So my respect for this company will always be very big,” said Lauda.

Explaining his ‘spaghetti’ comment, Lauda added: “In formula one we had one of the best races ever (at Silverstone), and still we are talking about a lot of boredom. That cannot be right.

“Everyone in formula one would be happy if Ferrari could close the gap to us.”