United States Grand Prix – Free practice results (2)
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff insists there is no animosity between himself and Ross Brawn despite the former team principal suggesting his successor and Niki Lauda triggered his decision to leave.
Excerpts published in the British media this week from Brawn's new book 'Total Competition – Lessons in strategy from Formula 1' have given an insight into what led to him exiting Mercedes at the end of the 2013 season.
In the book, Brawn reveals he was unhappy at having his managerial position undermined by the signing of Paddy Lowe without his final approval, a situation he felt showed neither Wolff nor Lauda could be trusted.
“I was beginning to deal with people who I didn't feel I could ultimately trust; people within the team, who had let me down already in terms of their approach,” Reuters
quotes from the book.
“Then in early 2013, I discovered Paddy Lowe had been contracted to join the team and it had been signed off in Stuttgart. When I challenged Toto and Niki, they blamed each other. I met them to have it out with them. And they both pointed to each other.”
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However, Wolff has played down the suggestion there is a rift between himself and Brawn, saying he was pre-warned the quotes have been taken 'out of context'.
"I have read the quotes and Ross has been in touch," Wolff told Sky F1
. "Apparently some of the quotes were taken out of context and I accept that.
“A restructuring of an organisation is always a difficult time and delicate. When Ross decided to leave we had a pretty successful run of championships afterwards and that is a difficult situation.
"I respect him as a person and respect him very much as an engineer and none of these quotes has changed that."
Considered the architect behind Michael Schumacher's seven world titles at Benetton and Ferrari, Brawn added another world championship to his repertoire with the hastily-formed eponymous BrawnGP outfit in 2009.
With BrawnGP being consumed by Mercedes from 2010, Brawn's power struggles with Wolff and Lauda would see him exit the team at the end of 2013. Though Mercedes has gone on to win three consecutive world titles since, many still credit Brawn for his efforts in restructuring the team to focus on major 2014's change in regulation.
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