Formula One legend Niki Lauda has stepped down from his role as editor-in-chief of the new motor racing magazine F1, launched by Bernie Ecclestone and Business Age founder Tom Rubython, after just one issue. Speaking from Kuala Lumpur, where he was preparing the Jaguar team for the Malaysian Grand Prix, he said: "There has been no falling out. The problem is that they put me as editor-in-chief but I have never been a chief editor in all my life and I really was not aware that I was supposed to be that.
"When I realised two weeks ago, when I was down in Melbourne, that this was the case, I telephoned them immediately. Because of my work with Jaguar I’m not able to look at every article that’s in the magazine. My first responsibility is to Jaguar. This is my main job now.
"This chief editor business came up when I was still running Lauda Air. I didn’t realise that it would be so time-consuming. I have told Tom Rubython I will continue to write my column. But I asked him, ‘Please make somebody more competent the editor’."
So why was he appointed in the first place? "Good question, I really don’t know," he said. Three-times world champion Lauda lost control of the Vienna-based airline he founded in a bitter boardroom coup. His move to London, where he manages the Jaguar team, was suggested by Ecclestone. Ecclestone said: "I was not aware that Niki had resigned although he obviously should as he is now head of the Jaguar team." Rubython was doing his best to play down the loss of his star attraction as editor-in-chief. He said: "He is still involved with the magazine."
But an insider said Lauda was "the jewel in their crown".