Niki Lauda says F1 doesn't need Flavio Briatore to boost popularity

Niki Lauda insists that Formula 1 does not need former team boss Flavio Briatore to help find ways to make itself more popular.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone told teams at last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix that he wanted Briatore involved in a new working group that would look at ways to boost the sport's appeal.

But Lauda, whose Mercedes team is going to be a part of the popularity group, thinks that Briatore's involvement is unnecessary and that Ecclestone alone should be trusted to make changes.

"Why do we need Flavio?" said Lauda. "Bernie is the man in charge, and he should stay in charge.

"I think we should think together with Bernie, as he is the master of what we can improve."

Interestingly, despite Ecclestone telling teams he wanted Briatore involved in the group over the weekend, he has now suggested that the Italian may be not be essential.

Speaking to German publication Auto Motor Und Sport on Tuesday, Ecclestone said: "We do not need Flavio. We can do it ourselves."

CHANGES ALREADY HAPPENING

Lauda believes that the sport is already addressing things that needed changing and he reckons that a key contributor to recent races being exciting is that drivers are more willing to take risks.

That is due to a change of approach from race stewards in dealing with incidents since the Austrian Grand Prix, where they no longer punish drivers for crashing unless they do something blatantly wrong.

"I have to say the change that we had with the stewards, to not get involved as much as before, was a great move," said Lauda.

"Even the Sauber in the middle of the road [in Hockenheim] was exciting. If there was a safety car, everyone would have got bored.

"So Hockenheim was an improvement, and in Hungary there was no investigation as there were a lot of things that could have been looked at. It is going in the right direction."

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