Ross Brawn insists he's still open to staying on at Mercedes in 2014 - but has made it clear that he'll only do so if it's clear that he remains in charge of the operation as team principal.

"I think we need a very clear definition of who is in charge and obviously I need the motivation to carry on," Brawn told Sky Sports F1 before the start of the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka on Sunday.

"We have quite a heavy senior management team and we have to understand what we will all be doing," he continued. "Any successful F1 team has to have a senior reference and that's the big question. We need to make sure if I'm to remain here that I'm the reference.

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"I think the situation we have now is very different is probably a bit different to 12 months ago when some of these decisions were made so to some degree it is just unravelling what's gone on and finding a satisfactory solution."

Brawn is known to be less than thrilled with the new management structure at Mercedes, with non-executive chairman Niki Lauda and director of motorsports Toto Wolff bringing in Paddy Lowe from McLaren as an heir-apparent to Brawn as head of the team's technical department.

Asked if he would quit if he wasn't confirmed in his position as undisputed team principal, Brawn responded: "Not necessarily walk away from the sport."

That's thought to suggest that Brawn would entertain offers from other teams, with his name having been linked to both Williams and McLaren in recent weeks as both teams seek to find a way to revive past glories after recent slumps in form.

Another option is a possible return to Honda, as the Japanese engine manufacturer gears up to return to the sport in 2015 in partnership with McLaren. Such a move would allow Brawn to move in to a top-level position without disrupting an existing team's team management hierarchy in the same way that's been done to him at Mercedes.

"Ross wants to be in charge," confirmed Sky Sports F1 pundit and former F1 driver Johnny Herbert after hearing what Brawn had to say on Sunday.

"Ross wants to do all the working within the team and at the moment that is being taken away from him," he added. "That is why there is the threat."

Mercedes suffered a disappointing Japanese Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton effectively eliminated at the first corner after a clash with Sebastian Vettel left him with a punctured right rear wheel, damage from which ultimately forced him to retire on lap 9.

A drive-thru for an unsafe release left Nico Rosberg down in eighth place at the finish, meaning that in the all-important constructors championship that could ultimately decide Brawn's fate at Brackley, Mercedes have fallen away from Ferrari in the battle for the runners-up spot behind Red Bull.

"Sometimes you eat the wolf and others the wolf eats you," said Brawn after the race. "Today we got eaten."