Where’s Ross Brawn off to?

Ross BrawnWhere’s Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn heading in 2014?

According to Eddie Jordan and Andrew Benson at the BBC, anywhere but Mercedes. The Beeb reports Brawn has failed to reach an agreement to stay at the team that sits second in the constructor’s championship, and will leave at the end of the season.

But Niki Lauda – yeah, the bloke from that Rush film – thinks otherwise. The Merc chairman says in today’s Times that Brawn is yet to confirm whether he is to stay or leave.

“The speculation is total rubbish,” says Lauda. “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.”

Brawn, remember, has one of the shiniest CVs in the business. He helped Michael Schumacher to seven championships at Benetton and Ferrari before masterminding Jenson Button’s 2009 title with his Brawn GP outfit, entered privately after Honda withdrew from F1.

The stumbling block to Brawn’s position at Merc, it seems, is whether he’ll remain as top dog in the management team. This January, Merc recruited ex-McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe, who was widely expected to replace Brawn as team principal. But now it seems Lauda is keen to accommodate both men on the Merc pit wall.

At the Japanese GP, Brawn confirmed he would only stay at Mercedes if he remains in charge of the team, and Lauda confirmed that he doesn’t want the hirsute Brit to leave.

“I am trying everything I can to encourage and motivate him to stay. I am the one who asked him to stay,” said Lauda. “I want him to do it but it is not my decision. It is his decision. If he stays he will be team principal, nothing else, or he will retire.”

So what next for Brawn? Mercedes? McLaren? Retirement? Or is it time for Brawn GP – the only F1 team to win every constructors’ championship it entered – to rise from the ashes to defend its 100 per cent title record?

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