Brawn departure his own decision - Lauda
Brawn's departure was confirmed on Thursday morning, with Mercedes' team principal stepping down from the role and leaving the team at the end of December. Lauda, who is non-executive chairman at Mercedes, praised Brawn for the success he had brought to the team and said he had tried to convince him to stay.
"First of all and most importantly, we must say thank you to Ross," Lauda said. "When you consider the step that has been made from finishing fifth in 2012 to the second place that we have secured this season, he has been the architect of this success. He put the plans in place to recruit key people since early 2011, and the performance this season shows that the team is on the right track.
"We have had long discussions with Ross about how he could continue with the team but it is a basic fact that you cannot hold somebody back when they have chosen to move on. Ross has decided that this is the right time to hand over the reins to Toto and Paddy and we respect his decision.
"Toto and Paddy are the right people to lead our team in 2014 and beyond."
Dr Dieter Zetsche - chairman of Daimler - added that the transition was only ever going to take place when Brawn decided to leave the team.
"Last winter, we restructured the management of our Formula One activities, with the support of Niki Lauda," Zetsche said. "The first step was to convince Toto Wolff to join us to run our Mercedes-Benz motorsport activities and our Formula One company. The second step was the recruitment of Paddy Lowe during 2013.
"This gave us a clear succession plan for the time when Ross decided to step down from his current role, and that time has now come. I have every confidence that Toto and Paddy will build on Ross' good work and that they possess exactly the balance of skills required to lead our team to world championship success.
"I would like to personally thank Ross for the calm authority with which he has led our works team since 2010, for his crucial contribution to our team's development and also for the undoubted share he will have in our future success. It has been a pleasure working with him over the past four years and I extend all my very best wishes to him for the future."
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