Ross Brawn has revealed that he personally gave the go-ahead for Mercedes to take part in Pirelli's 1000km test at the Circuit de Catalunya, but continues to insist that he does not feel under any pressure as a result.
The Briton exuded a confident air throughout Friday's FIA press conference in Canada, where – with chief accusers Christian Horner and Stefano Domenicali joining him on the panel – the line of questioning began and continued to pursue various angles on the now controversial Barcelona session.
Having repeatedly claimed that, in his opinion, Mercedes had no case to answer, despite running a 2013 car in the hands of race regulars Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton over the three days, Brawn was asked whether, should the team be found guilty of breaking the rules by an impending FIA Tribunal, he felt his position at Brackley would be weakened.
“I think there's been some rumours before and nothing's happened,” he smiled, “I think we should say let's wait and see what the Tribunal find and then we can go from there. It was my decision to do the test, so that's a fact. Let's see what occurs at Tribunal and we'll go from there.”
Brawn refused to reveal whether he had run the option to test past Mercedes directors Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff, but insisted that the decision had not been a knee-jerk reaction to the team's frustrations with its tyre wear, which came to a head in Barcelona just days before the test.
“I can certainly say that the decision was based in no way on the track performance that we had,” he maintained, “I think everyone in F1 is concerned about some of the delamination that we've seen, so I think that's a worthy objective [to test for]. Certainly, [there was] nothing to do with the performance of the car, because nothing was aimed at addressing that.”
The ongoing speculation regarding Mercedes' fate at the Tribunal altered in the build-up to the Canadian Grand Prix amid rumours that the team had been personally authorised to use its 2013 car – in direct contravention of the rules – by FIA race director and safety delegate Charlie Whiting. Brawn, however, again refused to comment of suggestions that he may have a copy of the email apparently sent by Whiting, and also played down the relevance of using Hamilton and Rosberg for the test, despite going to the lengths of disguising their involvement by using plain helmets instead of their own liveried ones.
“[Regarding] the e-mail, I don't want to comment on any matters of that sort that relate to what's going to come through in the Tribunal,” he insisted, “In terms of running the race drivers, in any form of testing, apart from the young drivers' test, there's no control or limitation on the type of driver you have in the car, so it was natural for us to use the drivers we have. We wanted the most representative conditions we could for the Pirelli test, it was as simple as that.”
Repeatedly claiming that there was no 'secrecy' involved in running the test, merely a quest for 'privacy', Brawn rarely appeared fazed by the constant barrage of questions – an air contrasting with the rather more anxious demeanour of those around him.
“I won't pretend it's very pleasant at the moment,” the Briton admitted, “but, again, I'm confident that, once we get to the Tribunal, the facts will become apparent, and you'll be able to make a better judgement.
“We're trying to focus on the racing. We had a great result in Monaco, and we've got a race here to focus on. We're going to try and stay aligned with the things we enjoy, like the racing, and we'll try and keep [the test row] in the distance. It's not very pleasant, but that's motor racing. I've been in it a long time, and I've been through these periods before.”