Brawn: Lack of trust with Wolff, Lauda led to Mercedes F1 exit

© Getty Images

Ross Brawn claims that a lack of trust with Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda led to his departure from the Mercedes Formula 1 operation back in 2013.

After winning both F1 championships with his own team, Brawn GP, in 2009, Brawn continued as team principal when Mercedes took over the operation for the 2010 season.

Brawn was joined at Mercedes in September 2012 by three-time world champion Lauda, who became non-executive chairman, with Wolff becoming executive chairman the following January.

Brawn ultimately left Mercedes at the end of the 2013 season, but played a big part in building the foundations for the championship successes that have followed for the German marque.

Brawn has lifted the lid on his departure from Mercedes in a new book, Total Competition: Lessons in Strategy from Formula One, that he co-authored with ex-Williams chief Adam Parr.

“What happened at Mercedes is that people were imposed on me who I couldn’t trust,” Brawn writes, as detailed by Reuters.

“I never knew really what they were trying to do. I mean Niki would tell me one thing, then I would hear he was saying something else.

“[Wolff] said that I was resting on my money now. I had got all this money and I wasn’t interested in the team anymore and I wasn’t motivated and I wasn’t doing this, I wasn’t doing that; that the team needed a fresh impetus.

“So 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.

“When I challenged Toto and Niki they both blamed each other. I met them together to have it out with them and they both pointed to each other.

“Even with Paddy Lowe, I was never quite sure – he was quite happy to jump in and take my job.

“I couldn’t trust those people so I saw no future unless I was willing to go to war and remove them.”

Mercedes has confirmed that it will not be offering comment on Brawn’s claims.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.