Lewis Hamilton has said he is confident Mercedes will remain strong in F1 2014, even if Ross Brawn does opt to quit.
Earlier this week it was reported that Brawn will exit the Brackley-based squad at the end of 2013
, and while that story was subsequently rubbished by Mercedes F1 chairman, Niki Lauda
, it is still unclear what will happen going forward.
“As individuals we have to make the right decisions for ourselves and so whichever decision he makes it will hopefully be because it is something he wants to do,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News
on Thursday in the countdown to this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“We have a lot of great people in the team so I'm sure the team will be strong either way and I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can do next year.
“There were much bigger reasons why I joined the team and having him at the team was a bonus. I've learnt who everyone is in the team and we have some incredibly talented people here. He has a great approach, and helps create a great atmosphere, but I hope that's the case with all bosses.
“I'm confident that we will stay strong next year either way.”
Looking to 2014, Hamilton said he is hopeful Mercedes can take the fight to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull.
“We've probably not being doing as much as it sounds as if they [Red Bull] have been doing, in terms of developing for next year, but I think that a lot of the stuff that you do develop on this year's car, upgrades that we do bring to this year's, hopefully will have an effect on next year's car,” he continued in Thursday's FIA press conference. “It's kinda of similar but some teams obviously can turn their focus a little bit earlier and some a little bit later, but hopefully, ultimately, we'll still be competitive next year with these guys.”
“Red Bull has done an incredible job for some time now, so you know, they've raised the bar and everyone just needs to work harder. Us, as a team, we're working as hard as we can to really put the energy into next year and hope that we can compete with them,” Hamilton added. “That's ultimately what I'd love to do and ultimately what the team desires too. That's what the dream is.
“There's a long steep curve for us to climb or hill for us to climb for next year but it's more of a level starting ground for everyone and you can either get it right or wrong. Hopefully we're on the right side.”
So is he mentally already in 2014? “No, no. I'm still trying,” Hamilton replied, “This year hasn't been perfect for me and I'm always trying to learn and improve.
“There are lots of areas that can always be improved on, from myself and from the team, and we're just working on those because we don't want to carry the negatives of anything we have into next year.”