Lauda on replacing Rosberg: 'It's complicated'

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Niki Lauda has admitted that Mercedes' conundrum of replacing retired world champion Nico Rosberg is 'complicated', which is why the process is taking a long time.

As usual, we can suspect that negotiations evolve around money issues, and the big ticket items Williams is undoubtedly asking for in exchange for releasing its driver, Valtteri Bottas into Mercedes hands.

"It's all so comlplicated," Lauda told Blick, with veteran journalist Roger Benoit insisting that Mercedes management was not willing at this stage to allocate the full amount of Rosberg's 2017 salary to Bottas' poaching.

Williams will be asking for a hefty sum, incentives in the form of a rebate applied to its Mercedes engine budget and certainly a reduction - or an outright elimination - of Paddy Lowe's gardening leave period.

And then there is the case of Felipe Massa who would only delay his retirement plans if Williams make it worth his while financially.

Blick's Benoit suggests, perhaps in a bit of a credulous manner, that billionaire Lawrence Stroll who is bankrolling his son's debut in F1 with Williams, could intervene as he would rather see Lance go up against Massa rather than Bottas.

And waiting patiently in the wings because he has no other choice is Pascal Wehrlein whose deal with Sauber could completely fall apart should Mercedes prove unsuccessful in poaching Bottas from Williams.

Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the German who would inherit the plum Silver Arrows drive? Wait and see..

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