Lauda: Ferrari within touching distance


As the Formula One season draws closer, Mercedes Team Chairman Niki Lauda has admitted that Ferrari are dangerously close to them in terms of speed and power.

Lauda, a three-time World Champion, expressed his concern that Mercedes cannot afford to make any mistakes as he suspects Ferrari will take full advantage of their blemishes.

"I see clearly that Ferrari is catching us with great strides," the F1 legend told the German broadcaster RTL.

"I suspect they have moved to within two, three tenths of us. That's a dangerously small lead now."

"The slightest mistake from us regarding strategy or tyres and that two-three tenths is quickly gone."

On Whether or not Ferrari actually have a chance against the current World Champions, the Maranello-based teams' number one driver Sebastian Vettel has played down talks of being faster than Mercedes but did reveal his ambition to become World Champion once again.

"That question can only be answered halfway seriously after a few races,” the 28-year-old told Bild.

"I see it very positively that the expectations are high,

"My goal is very clearly to be world champion and to win races. Anything else is for me not good enough."