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

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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.