FRACTURED RELATIONSHIP: Mercedes team prinicipal Toto Wolff and honorary chairman Niki Lauda are reportedly not on good terms and now the F1 great could quit the team. Image: AFP / Jens Buettner
Abu Dhabi - Niki Lauda is on the brink of quitting Mercedes, reportedly over a dispute with fellow team chief Toto Wolff about Red Bull.
That is the claim of multiple British newspapers, including the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, from the scene of this weekend's Abu Dhabi grand prix.
"Relationships are said to be so bad that Lauda has been telling close friends that he could quit at any time", the London newspaper The Times said.
That report said Wolff is at odds over an issue involving Red Bull, after Mercedes team chairman and F1 legend Lauda reportedly shook hands with Dietrich Mateschitz on an engine deal that Wolff later vetoed.
The Times said Wolff is also unpopular at present with Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt, with the quadruple world champions Red Bull facing being left without an engine unless Renault decides to stay in the sport.
Asked in Abu Dhabi what is holding up Red Bull's engine deal announcement for 2016, boss Christian Horner answered: "Well, we have an agreement in place for 2016, so it's great news that we will be on the grid next year.
"But unfortunately due to circumstance beyond our control we can't announce exactly what that is. Perhaps Toto can tell you."