Niki Lauda has swiftly hit reverse, after using an expletive to describe the cars fielded in 2014 by Mercedes' grandee rivals McLaren and Ferrari.
"McLaren has the same engine as us and the car is sh*t," Mercedes' F1 chairman had told the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
"The same with Ferrari -- another sh*t car," the former Ferrari champion added.
After the publication of his blunt assessment, Lauda has now apologised privately and publicly to Ferrari.
"I apologise to Ferrari, to Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, and to the Italian fans. I should not have used that word," the great Austrian told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I was wrong and I do not make...
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