Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn insists that the decision to hire Lewis Hamilton from 2013 does not place himself or the Brackley squad any under more pressure than it already puts on itself every season.

Hamilton's decision to accept Mercedes' offer and leave McLaren, the team that nurtured him from karting to F1, is the big transfer news of 2012 and looks set to kick-start the annual merry-go-round, beginning with Michael Schumacher's announcement that he is to retire for a second time. The Briton has made no secret of his desire to add to his lone world championship, won back in 2008 - although the move to Mercedes has been viewed by some as a 'get rich quick' scheme providing a bigger salary, incentives and greater commercial freedom than what was on offer at McLaren, which would, on current form, provide a better car - but Brawn says that that puts no greater onus on his operation, which also has to deal with the desires of a major manufacturer.

"I think all of us here [in the FIA press conference] are under substantial pressure, but a lot of it is pressure you generate yourself because you want to take part in a very competitive sport," he reasoned, "I think none of us have handcuffs holding us to this business, we do it because we enjoy it and it's our ambition to succeed in this business, so there is pressure at every level.

"There's pressure at [Marussia boss] John [Booth]'s level, as he's trying to achieve tenth place, a massive task; we're trying to go forward. Most of that pressure, for me personally, is the pressure from within, not the pressure from a driver or the pressure from a board."

Brawn also insists that he has not made any specific promises to Hamilton, despite obviously hoping that the Three Pointed Star can be a factor in next year's championship battle.

"I'm not sure you'd describe them as promises, but we set out the path that the team is on, what we're trying to do, the people we have in place to try and achieve that, the facilities we've built up over the last couple of years," he revealed, "As you do with any driver, you present that vision and the objectives you have for the next few years and that's what we did."

Among the perceived benefits of Hamilton jumping ship is the belief that Mercedes will have the upper hand when F1's new engine policy is introduced in 2014. By then, McLaren will be a full customer of the Stuttgart marque, but Brawn insists that there will be little difference between their powerplants.

"Our agreement with McLaren is to supply engines to the same specification," he stressed, "None of us really know how it's going to be in 2014 in terms of engine performance, engine reliability, [but] there won't be huge differences. We have a one team policy, a one team principle, [and] our staff at Brixworth and Brackley work together as one entity and that brings them closer than can be achieved with a customer, but McLaren are an extremely professional customer. Our ambition is to have the best engine in 2014 as it is Stefano[ Domenicali]'s - and McLaren will have that engine as well."

Having enjoyed a long history with Schumacher, first at Benetton, then Ferrari and, finally, after tempting the German out of retirement to join Mercedes, Brawn will naturally be sorry to see his friend leave the top flight, but wishes that he had gone on his own terms rather than waiting to hear that Hamilton had agreed terms to replace him alongside Nico Rosberg.

"We've had a lot of discussions with Michael over the past months, six weeks or so, and, whilst Michael hadn't made his decision in those early discussions, he came to that conclusion in the past few days," Brawn revealed, "In many ways, it's a sad moment, when someone of the calibre and achievements of Michael stops racing, but he's happy with that decision, he's at peace with that decision, and I think that's the important thing.

"We've all got to have huge respect for him making that decision. I think F1 will be losing someone very important, especially as, this second time that Michael came back, he had a slightly different approach. I think I saw many fans who were perhaps not quite so enthusiastic during Michael's first era coming back and really supporting him. When he got a podium in Valencia, it was nice to see how much support he had from the paddock.

"He's done a very, very good job for us and we've repeated many times that, if we'd provided him with a better car, then he would have won races. There are some races where he was certainly quick enough to win - this year alone, Monaco - so it's the passing of an era and one which is hard to imagine anyone repeating the achievements that he's managed in his driving career."

Despite his obvious admiration for Schumacher, Brawn admitted that there had been no talks about the German remaining on board as an ambassador for team and marque.

"We've not discussed that," he confirmed, "It's not something that we've explored yet. Michael's got huge experience and everyone's got massive respect for him, [but] it's not possible to say [what will happen in future]. I think Michael's going to spend a few months just reflecting on, let's say, this new opportunity he has, and I'm sure he will think very seriously about whatever he'll do [and] he will do [it] extremely professionally and effectively. At the moment, [I have] no idea what that will be."



Loading Comments...