Lauda denies Brawn Mercedes exit rumours

07 October 2013 11:01

Mercedes non-executive president Niki Lauda on Monday denied press claims Team Principal Ross Brawn will leave the German team at the end of the 2013 season.

German bi-weekly newspaper Sport Bild claimed earlier Monday that Brawn had told Lauda, a former three-time world champion, of his decision during last weekend's Grand Prix in South Korea.

However, Lauda quickly denied the story.

"I don't know where these stories come from, it's not true," he told German sports agency SID, an AFP subsidiary.

"We're still in negotiations, the status quo has not changed. There certainly won't be a decision before the end of the season.

"Until then, we're going full tilt. I'd like to continue working with him but that will be his decision. Ross is still motivated."

According to Sport Bild, the 58-year-old Brawn, who masterminded Michael Schumacher's seven world titles with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 and Ferrari from 2000 to 2004, will be replaced by former McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe, who joined Mercedes mid-season.

Back in July, Brawn, a keen salmon and trout fisherman, told Sport Bild: "I'm in charge and Paddy works for me, but sooner or later that will change.

"When the moment to pass the baton comes, it will be done gently."

After Brawn left Ferrari he had a one-year sabbatical before joining Honda in 2008.

That team was bought out by a consortium headed by Brawn and carried his name in 2009, when Jenson Button stormed to the world title, before Mercedes took over in 2010.

According to Sport Bild, Brawn may not actually retire but is in talks with Honda, rumoured to be set for a return to the sport in 2015 by supplying engines to McLaren, a hark back to that team's glory days at the end of the 1980s when the team boasted legendary drivers Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in cars powered by the Japanese manufacturer's engines.

Source: AFP