Talk of a rift at the top of Mercedes F1 team 'rubbish' - Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff has described rumours of a fallout with Niki Lauda and suggestions the three-time Formula 1 champion will quit Mercedes as "rubbish" and "laughable"

Talk of a rift at the top of Mercedes F1 team 'rubbish' - Toto Wolff

Stories emerged over the course of the final weekend of the season in Abu Dhabi that there was no love lost between Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff and non-executive chairman Lauda.

The duo initially made light of the gossip by posing for a picture at the Yas Marina circuit holding hands as they walked down the paddock.

Now Wolff has laid to rest the speculation regarding his relationship with Lauda and the prospects of his fellow Austrian leaving the team.

"The story about Niki is nonsense, rubbish, one that somebody has felt they need to put out there," Wolff told Autosport at a celebratory event in Kuala Lumpur organised by team sponsor Petronas.

"In every successful organisation you will have different viewpoints and angles, and it is not only between Niki and myself, but between many of us that at times we have heated discussions.

"In the end we are all sharing the same objective, to make the team as successful as possible, and on a platform that is functional.

"But some of the things out there over that weekend were so laughable that we felt we wanted to counter with an equally stupid little picture, with us holding hands."

Wolff concedes his viewpoint has altered over time about negative stories in F1, but he still feels there are some that go too far, and are potentially damaging.

"I've changed my opinion of Formula 1," added Wolff.

"I was a very engaged and emotional stakeholder of the business, and thought that talking the sport down was not right for Formula 1.

"I've changed my mind, and now the controversy off-track, some of the stuff you read in the newspapers is still causing headlines, so maybe that is a necessary part of Formula 1, and how it's always been.

"But with some of the things you read, it's been taken to a new level.

"It almost feels like people forget they are stakeholders and ambassadors of the sport.

"The stories you read are a distortion of the facts, almost to a point that they are starting to be detrimental to the sport and could be affecting audiences."

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