Formula 1
Formula 1
29 Aug
-
01 Sep
Event finished
05 Sep
-
08 Sep
Event finished
19 Sep
-
22 Sep
Event finished
26 Sep
-
29 Sep
Event finished
10 Oct
-
13 Oct
Event finished
Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

Ross Brawn breaks F1 silence: "I couldn't trust" Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda at Mercedes

shares
comments
Ross Brawn breaks F1 silence: "I couldn't trust" Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda at Mercedes
Oct 19, 2016, 1:24 PM

Former Mercedes boss Ross Brawn has broken his silence over his exit from the Brackley-based team and Formula 1 at the end of the 2013 season.

Former Mercedes boss Ross Brawn has broken his silence over his exit from the Brackley-based team and Formula 1 at the end of the 2013 season.

Nico Rosberg China 2012

Brawn left Mercedes at the end of 2013, shortly before the team began its dominance of F1 at the start of the 2014 season, the first year of the V6 turbo regulations. Since then, Mercedes has gone on to win three consecutive constructors’ titles and Hamilton won the drivers’ championship in 2014 and 2015.

In a soon-to-be published book called ‘Total Competition: Lessons in strategy from Formula 1’ he has written with former Williams CEO Adam Parr, Brawn has revealed that he left Mercedes because he felt he could not trust Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda, who had been made Mercedes; motorsport boss and non-executive chairman respectively by the manufacturer.

He wrote: "What happened at Mercedes is that people were imposed on me who I couldn't trust. I never really knew what they were trying to do. I mean Niki would tell me one thing, then I would hear he was saying something else."

Niki Lauda Toto Wolff

"So I was beginning to deal with people who I didn't feel I could ultimately trust; people within the team, who had let me down already in terms of their approach.”

Former McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe was signed to head up the Mercedes technical department at the beginning of 2013, a move Brawn claimed he was aware of when he said, “I am the team principal [and] I am in charge of sporting, technical and racing matters”, at the start of the 2013 season.

Lowe joined Mercedes in the middle of the 2013 season after being released from his McLaren contract early, but Brawn explains that Briton’s initial contract with Mercedes was made without his knowledge. He says that when he spoke to Wolff and Lauda about Lowe joining the team the pair blamed each other for the situation.

XPB.cc Paddy Lowe

"Then in early 2013, I discovered Paddy Lowe had been contracted to join the team and it had been signed off in Stuttgart,” he wrote. “When I challenged Toto and Niki, they blamed each other. I met them to have it out with them. And they both pointed to each other."

"I couldn't trust [these] people, so I saw no future unless I was willing to go to war and remove them. I saw no future with people that I didn't feel I could trust."

Brawn previously worked with Michael Schumacher at Benetton and Ferrari before going on to run Honda, which became Brawn GP in 2009 when the Japanese manufacturer pulled out of the sport and Mercedes purchased the team ahead of 2010.

The 61-year-old oversaw Schumacher’s return to the sport that year and then the Silver Arrows’ first F1 win since 1955 when Nico Rosberg won the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix, as well as signing Lewis Hamilton ahead of the 2013 season.

Brawn also writes that Wolff and Lauda’s position as shareholders in the Mercedes team, in addition to their management positions, was a “complication” that he never really comprehended.

Ross Brawn

"I think one complication in all of that was Toto and Niki became shareholders, which was an interesting decision by Mercedes. I never really understood it,” he wrote.

"Their view was that they wanted management who were committed and I think they also took a view that by being shareholders they would gain greater respect from the team.

"That they partly own the team, so by coming in and being a shareholder they were putting their money where their mouth was. That's what they hoped."

Brawn “didn’t know” about Ferrari veto until 2005

Before his stint in charge of the Brackley’s Honda, Brawn and Mercedes squads, Brawn was the technical director at Ferrari, where he won five drivers’ championships and six constructors’ championships between 1999 and 2004.

The Scuderia was granted a secret veto on F1’s rules in the 1980s, but Brawn, who joined Ferrari in 1996, says he did not learn about it until the 2005 season, when the sport introduced tyres that had to last the entire length of a Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher 2005

"I didn’t know that we had a veto then,” he said. “We didn’t use it and I don’t think Jean [Todt] would have ever used it, because we knew it was wrong."

What do you make of Ross Brawn's revelations about Mercedes and Ferrari? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
Next article
Dennis's future at McLaren in doubt

Previous article

Dennis's future at McLaren in doubt

Next article

Interview: Sainz ready for big time after school of hard knocks

Interview: Sainz ready for big time after school of hard knocks
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton Shop Now
Teams McLaren Shop Now