ABU DHABI: Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has responded to new speculation about Ross Brawn’s future as principal of the Formula One team by repeating his wish for him to stay.
Brawn’s position has been open to conjecture since early in the year when Toto Wolff took over as Mercedes motorsport head and the team signed Paddy Lowe from McLaren in a senior executive position.
Mercedes declined to comment on media reports that Brawn had now decided to leave after the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix next month, but Lauda spoke of “total rubbish”.
“The situation is absolutely clear: I spoke to Ross a while ago and we agreed that he will come back to me after the final race of the season in Brazil to tell me whether he wants to stay or go,” British media quoted him as saying ahead of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“I am trying everything I can to encourage and motivate him to stay. I am the one who asked him to stay. I want him to do it but it is not my decision,” added the retired triple world champion. “If he stays. He will be team principal - nothing else - or he will retire.” Brawn is one of Formula One’s most successful bosses, winning both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships with his own Brawn GP team in 2009 after previous owners Honda had pulled out. He also masterminded Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles with Benetton and Ferrari as a technical director and strategist.
In January the 58-year-old spoke of a “succession plan” and said he wanted to see how things went before making any long-term commitment to Mercedes. REUTERS