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'I'm still in charge' - Brawn
Ross Brawn has made clear that he is still in charge of the Mercedes F1 team and that he intends to remain in that position.
Speculation this week suggested Brawn could be pushed out of Mercedes under plans to hire McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe. The reports came just one day after Mercedes had announced new executive director Toto Wolff's arrival as one of three managerial figureheads at the team, including Brawn and Niki Lauda.
Speaking on Thursday, however, Brawn made clear that he is still in charge of the sporting and technical sides of the team and that he intends to remain in the position of team principal as long as he has the motivation to do so.
"I am the team principal and I am in charge of sporting, technical and racing matters," he said. "Toto is coming in and that's a whole other side of the business that I don't want to get involved in. I don't want to get involved in, on a day-to-day basis, the commercial activities and I don't want to get involved with the support we need to give Daimler on a day-to-day basis.
"There are a lot of things that Toto will be doing that are complimentary to what I'm doing in terms of running the team, but you have to have one reference. Everybody knows that the only way a racing team would work is to have one reference, and I'm that reference."
He said he and Mercedes had been in talks with Lowe, but that it was only part of a possible succession plan should he decide to step aside.
"I know the situation completely," he added. "Mercedes want a long-term commitment and obviously with a lot of additions I want to see how things go before I make a final long-term commitment. So we have to have things in place.
"It's like my succession plan at Ferrari. When I decided I was going to stop at Ferrari, we built a succession plan and I am part of that, I've talked to Paddy, we know the situation. I'm planning on being here for a very long time."
Asked if he was aware of the team's plans moving forwards, Brawn said: "I know all the plans for the future of the team and I hope I'm going to be a part of it for a very long time. We're entering a very exciting period and obviously Lewis [Hamilton] joining us was a massive catalyst for us all, a massive incentive and motivation - I think we are seeing the maturity of the plans we made 12 months ago.
"This car has been a project led by Aldo [Costa] and I think he's done a fantastic job. I'm really excited by that, and like any of us in life, if we are excited by what we do we want to carry on doing it and so that's what I want to do."
Brawn added that his main concern was that the speculation around his position would disrupt the team ahead of the start of the season.
"I think it's a bit disappointing that it's got into the media, because that's disturbing for the team. I want our guys focused completely on doing the best job they can for this coming season. It's a really exciting time here and Lewis is now spending some time here at the factory and there's a huge buzz about the place for the coming season.
"That's what we want to maintain and unfortunately those things are in the nature of the business, but they are distractions for people and I have to do the best that I can to make sure people don't get distracted."
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