Niki Lauda says he expects to see Ross Brawn back in the F1 paddock, in a working capacity, at some point next season.

The Austrian, who attempted to persuade Brawn to remain at Mercedes despite the restructuring of its management team, believes that the lure of F1 will be too strong for the former team principal, who officially announced his exit late last week. Brawn leaves Mercedes at the end of the year, but told television reporters on Sunday that he had not decided what to do next, apart from taking some time out.

"I'm very sad about it because I wanted him to stay another year," Lauda told Reuters reporters before the Autosport Awards ceremony, "He says he wants to go fishing. He says he wants a rest. So it's very simple. I really tried hard, but he stays a consultant to me, which I think is very good and important.

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"Now Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe, and Paddy especially on the technical side, has to fill this big hole [Brawn] has left but, don't worry, I am going to kick them like you do not believe... Hopefully, we can keep on going."

Lauda admitted that he, too, remained unclear as to Brawn's plans beyond taking time out to pursue his other main interest in life, with the Briton having been linked to the governing body as well as rival teams.

"I think he will not go in pension, this is clear," the three-time world champion reasoned, "I think he will come back, [but] I don't know with the FIA or whatever he likes to do."