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Lauda quits TV gig with German broadcaster RTL

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Niki Lauda will no longer provide his insight and commentary to German broadcaster RTL in the future, relinquishing his role as TV pundit.

The Mercedes non-executive chairman and F1 legend has been a fixture for many years on RTL Germany, but Lauda decided that his time was up as a pundit.

The 68-year-old made the announcement during the Abu Dhabi coverage this weekend, flanked by shocked host, Florian King and Nico Rosberg.

"It was a personal decision that I made on Saturday," said the three-time world champion.

"I've done this for 21 years which is long enough."

King admitted the announcement came out of the blue, in typical Lauda style.

"We had no idea beforehand. At first I thought Niki was kidding but then I looked him in the eye and realised he was serious."

"Niki stayed true to himself by taking a decision for himself and announcing it succinctly," added RTL sports boss Manfred Loppe. "We have to respect that."

Lauda's announcement comes at a time when RTL has yet to renew its contract with Liberty Media for 2018.

"You always have to expect something with Niki," said RTL commentator Heiko Wasser.

"In recent years, his contract negotiations were always clear but this year he did not do all of the races for us. That's why I'm not shocked.

"I don't really care who replaces him. First of all, I will be happy if Formula 1 is still on RTL."

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