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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TeamPoints
1Mercedes161
2Ferrari153
3Red Bull72
4Force India53
5Toro Rosso21
6Williams-Mercedes18
7Renault14
8Haas9
9Sauber4
10McLaren0
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari104
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes98
3Valtteri BottasMercedes63
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari49
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull37
6Max VerstappenRed Bull35
7Sergio PerezForce India34
8Esteban OconForce India19
9Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes18
10Carlos SainzToro Rosso17
11Nico HulkenbergRenault14
12Romain GrosjeanHaas5
13Kevin MagnussenHaas4
14Pascal WehrleinSauber4
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
16Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes0
17Marcus EricssonSauber0
18Jolyon PalmerRenault0
19Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
20Fernando AlonsoMcLaren0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0