May 16 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Niki Lauda has hit out at Red Bull for dropping his name from a corner at the returning Austrian grand prix venue.
Now called the Red Bull Ring, the former A1-Ring was demolished and totally rebuilt by the energy drinks company, and next month it will host its first grand prix since 2003.
Prior to the Red Bull takeover, one of the corners at the A1-Ring was called the Niki Lauda Kurve, in honour of the Austrian great and triple world champion.
Now, the same corner has been renamed Pirelli. Also gone is the Gerhard Berger Kurve, replaced by Wurth, a German tool company.
“I’m very disappointed,” Lauda told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.
“I can only presume it is because I am now at Mercedes and we are beating Red Bull,” he added.
So far, the Jochen Rindt Kurve – named after the posthumous 1970 world champion – has survived the Red Bull Ring’s search for sponsor dollars.
But correspondent Gerald Pototschnig said even that corner could be renamed if a sponsor makes an attractive enough offer.
“As punishment,” the angry Lauda said, “Mercedes will be happy to celebrate a one-two in Spielberg.”