Mar.20 (GMM) Niki Lauda is heading to Australia denying rumours Mercedes is lining up a tilt to sign Sebastian Vettel.
The German team does not deny that Nico Rosberg's successor, Valtteri Bottas, was given a mere one-year deal so that a bigger name might be signed up for 2018.
But F1 legend Lauda denies the big plan is to lure German Vettel from Ferrari.
"That is not our plan -- I must say that quite clearly," the triple world champion and Mercedes team chairman told the Austrian broadcaster ORF.
However, he doesn't deny that Mercedes is keeping its options open.
"We're going to start with Bottas and (Lewis) Hamilton and see how it goes," said Lauda.