|Power struggle between Lauda (L) and Wolff (R) over Ross Brawn can torpedo the Mercedes team|
Mercedes Non-Exec Chair Niki Lauda "is attempting to head off an internal power struggle to persuade Ross Brawn, one of the most successful team principals in Formula One history, to stay with the Mercedes team," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES.
Lauda "dismissed speculation that Brawn was leaving at the end of the season as 'bulls***' and insisted negotiations were continuing to find a way to keep the Manchester born Brawn in position."
That "will mean heading off the ambitions of Toto Wolff, who joined Mercedes as a shareholder to run the commercial and political aspects of the team." Wolff "brought with him Paddy Lowe from McLaren as prospective technical director without consulting Brawn, a man who has taken three F1 teams, including his own, to World Championship titles." Wolff "appears to have decided he wants to run Mercedes with Lowe as his second-in-command, but that has caused a tense stand-off with Brawn, who is demanding that he remains the kingpin in a team he has spent almost five years building."
Lauda is clear that he "wants Brawn to stay and is prepared to use all of his powers of persuasion to keep the most successful team principal of the past 20 years on board." Lauda: "The speculation is 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. I am trying everything I can to encourage and motivate him to stay. I am the one who asked him to stay" London Times
10/30/13 (GMM) Niki Lauda has slammed the latest speculation about Ross Brawn's future, insisting nothing has changed to trigger the reports.
Lauda, Mercedes' F1 chairman, said recently he was in talks with the 58-year-old Briton but that a decision will not be made until after the season.
The Austrian great also said he wants Brawn to stay.
But reports on Tuesday suggested Brawn has now definitively decided to step down, in order to be replaced by new team boss Paddy Lowe.
"I hate all this bulls**t," triple world champion Lauda is quoted on Wednesday by the Daily Mail.
"The (latest) speculation is total rubbish."
However, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has hinted that the decision about Brawn has in fact been made.
"I think they have decided that Ross is going, and that seems to be the end of it," he said.
The Daily Mail said the uncertainty could be because Lauda wants Brawn – a renowned engineer with race and title-winning pedigree at Benetton, Ferrari and his own Brawn GP – to stay, while Toto Wolff wants Lowe to succeed him.
Lauda said: "I am trying everything I can to encourage and motivate him to stay. I want him to do it. But it is not my decision; it is his decision."
Brawn said recently he will only stay if he can remain team boss, and so Lauda denied suggestions the current talks are about negotiating a lesser role for the 58-year-old Briton.
"If he stays he will be team principal – nothing else – or he will retire," he said.
10/29/13 In London, Paul Weaver reported Brawn was thought to be on the verge of leaving when Lowe, the former Technical Dir at McLaren, "was signed last winter before Mercedes said they wanted a 'soft transition.'" It is thought that Brawn "would prefer to remain with Mercedes until next year, to oversee the biggest technical changes in the sport since 2009." But at stake is "what control he would have and Brawn, who has always been his own man, would want to retain overall power." A spokesperson for the team would only say that Lauda "had already confirmed Mercedes will not announce anything regarding Brawn's future until the end of the season." Guardian
10/29/13 Mercedes F1 Team Principal Ross Brawn "will leave his position" at the end of the F1 season, according to Benson & Jordan of the BBC. Sources close to Mercedes said that Brawn and Mercedes "have failed to reach an agreement on a role in which he would have been happy to stay at the team." Mercedes "will now be run in tandem by their two executive directors, Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe," along with Non-Exec Chair Niki Lauda. Both Mercedes and Brawn "refused to comment on the development." Brawn, 58, "wanted to stay in overall charge, as he made clear at the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month." However, sources close to the team said that option "was never open." BBC
|Ross Brawn (L)|
10/29/13 (GMM) Mercedes on Tuesday refused to confirm or deny the latest speculation about Ross Brawn's future.
Former F1 team owner and boss Eddie Jordan, who now works as a pundit for British television BBC and has a reputation for getting his predictions right, said the 58-year-old Briton is carrying ahead with his threat to leave the Brackley based team at the end of the season.
In Japan, Brawn warned he might exit if his position as team principal is not confirmed.
And last weekend in India, he admitted the transition to Paddy Lowe running the team will take place "at some point".
"Now we are having discussions about what is the best solution for the team in the future," Brawn told F1's official website a few days ago.
"When we are ready we will let everybody know."
Jordan's prediction on Tuesday, however, has only reinforced the perception in the paddock that Brawn's mind is already made up.
Still, Mercedes is saying nothing.
"A spokesman did not comment specifically on the story," a report by the Press Association news agency said on Tuesday.
The spokesman reportedly added that a decision about Brawn's future is still not due until the end of the season.
10/29/13 Ross Brawn will reportedly leave Mercedes at the end of the season after they fail to reach an agreement.
The BBC report that Mercedes insiders claim a deal cannot be reached between Brawn and Mercedes, Who hired Paddy Lowe earlier this season as Brawns potential successor.
Mercedes will now be ran by Toto Wolff, Niki Lauda and Paddy Lowe.
Ross Brawn made it clear that he wishes to remain at the team as long as he was in charge overall, however sources claim that was not an option.
It is unknown what Brawn will do next with reports suggesting a tie-up with Honda and McLaren seeming unlikely. f1.co.uk