Lauda: We tried to convince Brawn to stay on

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Mercedes’ non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has confirmed that the team made efforts to try and convince Ross Brawn to stay on with the German outfit, but that his desire to leave proved to be too strong.

The team confirmed earlier today that, after months of speculation, Brawn would be resigning as team principal and handing over responsibility to the duumvirate of Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff for 2014.

Lauda was full of praise for the Briton who has led Mercedes’ growth over the past four seasons, culminating in a second-place finish in this year’s constructors’ championship.

“First of all and most importantly, we must say thank you to Ross,” Lauda explained. “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.”

Lauda went on to explain that there were talks to try and get Brawn to remain with the team in some sort of role, but this was not possible.

“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.”

The power struggle within Mercedes between Brawn, Wolff, Lowe and Lauda has been on-going throughout the season, and questions did arise after the team was found to have conducted an illegal tire test with Pirelli back in May. After Lowe’s arrival, it was clear that Brawn would not remain in his role as team principal, but Lauda had insisted amid the speculation that he was doing all he could to keep the Briton at the team.

It remains to be seen what Brawn’s next move will be though, but he won’t be short of offers should he wish to stay in Formula One.