Lauda accuses Schumacher team of understatement

Austrian Formula One legend Niki Lauda has accused Michael Schumacher’s new team of “understatement” on the eve of the new F1 season set to start in less than two weeks time.Lauda told today (Tues): “The claim that Mercedes [GP] is struggling and will not be able to drive for victory is an understatement in my opinion.”German seven-time F1 champion Schumacher, who launched a sensational comeback, recently claimed his new team’s goal was “not too far away from the best teams”.Lauda meanwhile said he saw Mercedes GP being on level with favourites Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren in the 2010/2011 Formula One season which will start on 14 March with the Grand Prix of Bahrain.Speaking about Schumacher’s intentions for returning to Formula One driving, three-time champion Lauda said: “It might not be understandable for normal people. But he is different to normal people. Schumacher is extraordinary as a person and a racing driver.”It’s quite understandable for him to seek the challenge again after three years. Normal people might start something different – something more ‘comfortable’ and less stressful,” Lauda – who today manages his own aviation company, FlyNiki – said.