Team principal Ross Brawn is set to keep his job at Mercedes, contrary to earlier speculation he will be replaced by McLaren’s Paddy Lowe.
Former technical director Lowe is currently on McLaren ‘gardening leave’, amid the widespread paddock perception that he will arrive at Brackley in 2014.
But while earlier it was rumoured he would replace fellow Briton Brawn in the top Mercedes job, team director and co-owner Toto Wolff is now hinting strongly that the 58-year-old will stay.
Asked by Formula 1’s official website what ‘most useful lesson’ he has learned in his short time so far at Mercedes, Austrian Wolff answered: “To understand what it needs to make Ross function — or how he functions.”
Amid talk Brawn faces the axe, Mercedes newcomer Lewis Hamilton recently spoke out in support of his boss, insisting “I signed with him (Brawn) being here and I’m very happy working with him”.
Wolff said: “I am not at all surprised. Everybody has the highest esteem for Ross and I would be completely mistaken were I to question Ross’ technical skills — someone who has won seven or eight titles.
“Who am I in this respect?” he added. “I have been in Formula 1 for only three years. So I completely agree with every word Lewis said.”
Of course, Wolff’s comments leave open the door for a change of role for Brawn, with Lowe perhaps arriving to be team boss and Brawn staying in a purely technical capacity. But Wolff insisted that Brawn is doing a good job as boss.
“(He is) extremely structured. Accurate. Focused on sustainable results and not on short-term optimisation. An excellent manager who gives his people room. Ross is team principal and I don’t want to change that,” added Wolff.
“We need to get stability in the team as we have a mountain of work to do. From where this team is coming it is important to have as many good people as possible — that is my focus in all these discussions.”