Niki Lauda denies Mercedes eyeing Sebastian Vettel for 2018

Niki Lauda watches the action during final practice ahead of the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 7, 2014
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Niki Lauda is heading to Australia denying rumours that Mercedes are lining up a tilt to sign Sebastian Vettel.

Niki Lauda is heading to Australia denying rumours that Mercedes are 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 does deny that 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.

"We're going to start with Bottas and [Lewis] Hamilton and see how it goes."

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix takes place this Sunday.

Niki Lauda watches the action during final practice ahead of the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 7, 2014
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1Ferrari37
2Mercedes33
3Red Bull10
4Williams-Mercedes8
5Force India7
6Toro Rosso6
7Haas0
8Renault0
9Sauber0
10McLaren0
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari25
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes18
3Valtteri BottasMercedes15
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari12
5Max VerstappenRed Bull10
6Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes8
7Sergio PerezForce India6
8Carlos SainzToro Rosso4
9Daniil KvyatToro Rosso2
10Esteban OconForce India1
11Fernando AlonsoMcLaren0
12Daniel RicciardoRed Bull0
13Romain GrosjeanHaas0
14Nico HulkenbergRenault0
15Kevin MagnussenHaas0
16Marcus EricssonSauber0
17Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
18Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
19Jolyon PalmerRenault0
20Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes0