Wolff plays down ‘Brawn out, Lowe in’ rumours

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Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Melbourne, 2012In the round-up: Toto Wolff plays down rumours Paddy Lowe will join him at Mercedes with Ross Brawn and Nick Fry leaving.


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Mercedes want to replace Brawn (BBC)

Eddie Jordan: “Paddy Lowe is going to Mercedes and it would appear that Brawn and Fry are on their way out, and Lowe will be there in a very senior capacity.”

Wolff: No Merc changes for now (Sky)

Toto Wolff: “I haven’t been in Brackley yet I have had conversations with Ross. I admire what Ross has done but I need to understand the structure and what Ross has done.”

La F1 regresar??a a M??xico para la campa???a 2014 (La Universal, Spanish)

FIA vice president Jose Abed, who organised the last running of the Mexican Grand Prix between 1986 and 1992, aims to restore the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez next year, but says it will cot $50m.

Victorians pay millions for the right to host the F1 Grand Prix (Herald Sun)

“The overall cost of Mr Ecclestone’s licence fee – kept secret by four successive state governments for almost two decades – for the five-year contract is close to $170 million [??107m].”

Kubica to test DTM car but F1 a long way off (Reuters)

Wolff: “If the DTM test goes well and we see that he is doing well in a proper race car with downforce, I think there are still some physical constraints to drive a monocoque (single seater) chassis with his elbow and arm.”

Sauber: Rear Inboard Pull Rod Suspension (Scarbs F1)

“With these set-ups, all three teams appear to have found a small operational advantage and perhaps even a strategic benefit as they can alter the inboard suspension layout with resorting to a completely new gear case. It?s strange it?s solely the Ferrari engine teams that have found this solution, no other gear case I have seen powered by another engine manufacturer have seen this as a solution, despite some teams having run rear pull rod suspension since 2009.”

Raikkonen, Pic to race in Russia (The Moscow News)

“Formula One stars Kimi Raikkonen and Charles Pic are to take part in the annual Race of Stars on an ice track in Moscow next month, organisers said Tuesday.”

Winter wonderland: F1 circuits in the snow (WTF1)

“Some of the world?s best circuits covered in snow.”




Comment of the day

Chris (@Tophercheese21) has a suggestion for how the Australian GP can save money:

When the Victorian government says they want to improve the marketing of the event and cut costs at the same time (in no small part to Bernie charging a ridiculous amount to host a GP, which is why we?re seeing all these new Asian and Arabian races and fewer classic European races); I have one idea as to how they can cut costs and improve the event.

I went to the 2011 GP (From Perth), and throughout the entire w/e (before, during and after cars were on track) they had all these stupid sideshow “entertainments” like Motocross riders riding in a mesh ball, and jet skiers on the lake side doing back-flips, and other things of that nature.

And quite frankly, no one gave a stuff about them, and rightly so, they were completely irrelevant. Cutting those probably won’t save too much money, but some is better than nothing.
Chris (@Tophercheese21)

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Kimi Raikkonen had his first test for Lotus ahead of his comeback to F1 on this day last year.

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  • 63 comments on “Wolff plays down ‘Brawn out, Lowe in’ rumours”

    1. Toto Wolff seemed pretty careful in his choice of words not to rule out the possibility of Brawn being forced out. Another big scoop for Eddie?

      1. Eddie has got our respect back since his comments on Hamilton leaving McL. I don’t know if it’s the halo effect but I believe he knows more than we do…

    2. Eddie Jordan: “Paddy Lowe is going to Mercedes and it would appear that Brawn and Fry are on their way out, and Lowe will be there in a very senior capacity.”

      Given EJ being spot on about both Michael Schumacher returning and Lewis Hamilton moving to Mercedes, I wouldn’t be surprised.

      Plus the fact that both Brawn and Fry have had 3 chances now with Merc, and failed on all three occasions. A team with so much ambition and such high goals & expectations wouldn’t tolerate this.

      1. The more interesting question for me is why Eddie keeps getting Merc scoops from Bernie (hallegedly).

        I’ve found Mr Wolff to be an insightful guy in his interviews, it’s a shame all I can think of is Rainier Wolfcastle.

        1. brilliant!!!

    3. to many cooks………

    4. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      23rd January 2013, 0:22

      As the article from Mexico mentions, the country will have 2 drivers by the 2014. Even more, one of them is in a top team and, why not, Gutierrez can step up if there’s a possibility to shine at Sauber. That would mean a secured full-seats in Hermanos Rodriguez track. Bernie would see if the deal is profitable, as it was profitable to have 2 races in Germany with Schum on top of his popularity, or 2 in Spain when Fernando was on the same situation. A race in Mexico with 2 Mexican drivers looks promising

      1. Related question: would the drivers be allowed to take Peraltada in full swing or not.

        Probably not.

        1. Probably not.

          Certainly not. It’s a high-speed banked corner with no run-off and a busy road on the other side.

      2. There is two big questions with the Mexican GP, one is where will the money for the race fee will come from. The second one is of a more political nature. As I wrote in a previous post, the Hermanos Rodriguez track is owned by the Mexico City government (who I presume will finance the renovations) but it is managed by Grupo Cie which in turn is owned by Televisa and the Azcarraga family. I am not sure what is the current status of this, but Azcarraga and Slim have been at odds due to Slim’s bid to enter the television market. In fact a couple of years ago Slim pulled all advertising from Televisa’s TV network and so on.

        In order to get the Mexican GP again it would need a coalition of big companies to share the burden of the race fee the same way when CART ran in Mexico city when it was dubbed the Telmex-Gigante GP. Slim is the heaviest weight, but I doubt he would be willing to do it alone. The next Mexico City based big fish after Slim is probably Azcarraga. The other option is trying to get someone from Monterrey to chip-in, but they will most likely like to take the race to Parque Fundidora circuit in Monterrey, which is also Esteban’s hometown. This will definitively will not be seen with good eyes north of the border by the guys in Austin.

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          23rd January 2013, 13:53

          @jp1987 I’m just assuming this, but Telmex has helped the career of Perez and Gutierrez, so why not paying the fee too?

          1. It’s widely believed/assumed that they would be involved in it, since the Slims have commented on the idea of the race publicly before.

    5. I’m curious what Hamilton will make of this if Brawn does get booted out. Didn’t he refer to the presence of Brawn at Mercedes as one of his main reasons for joining the team in the first place?

      It would please me no end if Brawn moves to Mclaren and they win both championships in 2013, especially if Button wins the drivers championship.

      I suspect it’s much more likely that Brawn will retire if he is ousted from Mercedes based on some of his comments on the subject of retirement during the last couple of seasons and his health scare (irregular heart beat) last year.

      1. I wouldn’t put too much value into what Formula 1 drivers (and team principals) tell the press.

    6. That R30 (in which Kimi had his first comeback drive) is a lovely looking thing.

      The return of lower noses in 2014 is going to do wonders for the aesthetics of the cars.

    7. Personally I think that one of Mercedes biggest problems is its attitude;

      ‘We are here to win on day one. If we fail, we fire people and hire new ones. If they fail, we quit.’-esque.

      How they expect a group of people who are constantly changing, to build up a team that will stand up against the might and longevity of McLaren and Ferrari (and possibly even Red Bull now), is beyond me. You need continuity and stability to build something that will last and remain competative. It’s like Mercedes have bought all the ingredients to make an incredible meal… but has no idea how to actually cook it well.

      1. I disagree.

        Ross Brawn hasn’t simply hired all these people and then dropped them into the Brackley factory in one go and told them to find their own way. His recruitment drive has been going for the past eighteen months, and he has gradually introduced them one at a time. If you’re going to carry out such a widespread change as this, then that’s the way to do it.

        You criticise Mercedes for not pushing for stability and continuity in the team – but the problem is that they’ve had that for the past three years and they have gone absolutely nowhere. If they want to channge Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull, then they needed to bring in people like Costa, Willis, Elliot and Bell. The team was never going to challenge anyone if they simply kept the same people in the same positions at the end of 2012.

        1. But do you agree that removing Ross Brawn from the equation would be a completely moronic thing to do? Because Eddie Jordan’s annoying record of being right leads me to believe that this could actually be a reality-based rumor.

          1. @aka_robyn – I think that getting rid of him right now would be a mistake, because it would be a case of changing too much, too quickly, and Mercedes would have no way to measure which changes are actually working. That said, Mercedes have very little to show for themselves after three years, so I think Brawn needs to deliver something this year, or else face losing his position for 2014.

            1. I agree with PM about to many changes, but I also think Brawn gets more credit than he deserves. He may of convinced these people to join the Brackley team, but he needs them to save his own behind after producing nothing.

    8. Sankalp Sharma
      23rd January 2013, 1:19

      Brawn has an opportunity here to try and head back to Ferrari if booted out. It’s clear he can still contribute a lot to that team. His race strategies and technical acumen enabled Ferrari to dominate all those years and I see no reason why he can’t do the same again. Merc may have sucked in 2012 but they did come up with some innovative ideas. Ferrari, with 2014 in mind, are clearly in need for people who can take the fight to RedBull in the development race.

      1. Completely agree.. Brawn could be an additional asset to Ferrari. He wouldn’t make team boss.. but Ferrari could use his expertise wisely in the team’s race and car development strategy.

        1. Ferrari could use his expertise wisely in the team’s race and car development strategy

          Because he’s done such a good job of it in the past three years?

          1. Sankalp Sharma
            23rd January 2013, 7:11

            You are missing the point. Don’t compare Brawn’s role with Newey’s. Ross Brawn was a track operations engineer at Ferrari and used to compliment Bryne’s fast cars by making sure that its potential was fully extracted by clever race strategies and operational brilliance. Have we all forgotten so soon that, Ferrari who were once the joke of the paddock in terms of pitstops suddenly became the benchmark in early 2000’s. Do you honestly think Alonso would have lost the title had Brawn been on Ferrari’s pitwall that day at Abu Dhabi 2010? Ferrari already have the designers it’s a leader on the pitwall they lack. Yes sir, Brawn may not have been an exemplary team principal, but his tactical brilliance is second to none.

            1. Don’t compare Brawn’s role with Newey’s

              I’m not. I never was. The first time anyone mentioned Adrian Newey was when you did just now.

              Brawn may not have been an exemplary team principal, but his tactical brilliance is second to none.

              What tactical brilliance? This is what I’m questioning in the above post. Everyone sings praises for Ross Brawn as if he is the Gary Kasparov of Formula 1 strategy, but do you know what I’m looking at? The results of the 2012 United States Grand Prix. And what I’m seeing is a Mercedes that started in fifth and finished in sixteenth. That’s not tactical birlliance.

            2. That was due the fact that Mercedes had rubbish race pace. The car was useless over the long run. Not his fault. He’s not the designer.

            3. Merc may be a little hasty in getting rid of Brawn, but as many have said, considering Eddie Jordan’s strike rate on rumours developing from Brackley, this could become official pretty soon.

              I noticed Toto Wolf’s responses were very neutral, he was not committing to anything permanent, so it could potentially happen. The again, Ross is not stupid, if he senses he is being pushed out, he may as well leave.

              Would Brawn go back to Ferrari? It would be romantic, but I doubt Stefano is going anywhere. I don’t think Brawn will settle for anything other than team principle. I have been critical of Stefano in the past, but I think he has stepped up his game over the last year. Ferrari were pretty much flawless in terms of strategy and pitstops last year, all they need now is a car that can consistently qualify on the front row. They seem to be headed in the right direction. Hopefully the wind tunnel debacle is past them now, and with De La Rosa helping out with the simulation, thing should go well. Stefano is facing a huge year, he needs to win a title, that is quite clear. If they end up empty handed again, I doubt LdM will be very kind.

              In the event that Brawn is ousted by Wolf, he should probably go on gardening leave for a year (as he did in the past), and return to Ferrari if things don’t work out for Stefano?

            4. That was due the fact that Mercedes had rubbish race pace. The car was useless over the long run. Not his fault. He’s not the designer.

              Maybe, but it’s not like this was an isolated incident – Mercedes have struggled for three seasons now.

            5. I credit Rory’s cars that Brawn was a part of, race strategies are easy to devise in the fastest car. Please don’t bring Brawn Gp into to this either, that is just another example the point I have already made. Brawn without a great engineer/car = zero titles… This is his last chance

          2. Why some much focus on what’s happened in the last three years, we all know that Ross Brawn is someone worth having in your team. Is it any great surprise the the team which was formerly Honda hasn’t dominated the top teams for the last three years. 2009 was something of an aberration and the fact that the team’s workforce was cut that year wasn’t great for the future.

            But I think that the most important point is this. Alonso fan-boys all shout that Vettel isn’t better but he has an unfair advantage because of Adrian Newey. Newey designed F1 cars from 2000 and 2009 without a single championship to show for it, most of those with one of the leading F1 works teams. Yet we don’t write him off because of that, he was still one of the best designers but everyone is only part of a larger team and neither the plaudits or blame can all be put on one man’s shoulders. Brawn was part of a very successful team at Ferrari and in the right situation is likely to be as good at his job as ever – whether he can ever build or find a team he fits into as well as the Todt, Byrne, Schumacher, Ferrari team is the question.

            1. Why some much focus on what’s happened in the last three years

              Perhaps because the last three years represent the most recent, relevant performances?

              If you were a team principal and you were considering the merits of several drivers to fill a vacant seat, would you disregard their performances over the past three seasons in making that decision? Perhaps you would consider why they might have performed the way they did – maybe they just had a bad car or two – but I cannot think of any good reason to completely ignore what a driver has acheived in the past fifty-odd races. I’m sure you can see the sense in that.

              So if you, as a team principal, would not disregard a driver’s performances over the most-recent three-year period then why would you – now re-cast in the role of the CEO of a car manufacturer – disregard the performances of your team principal over that same three-year period?

              Yes, Ross Brawn does have an excellent reputation. But while everyone is proclaiming his tactical genius, the harsh reality is that under his direction, the team has acheived more as an underfunded privateer constantly under threat of a painful financial failure than it has as the works arm of a major car manufacturers that has been directly involved in Formula 1 for over twenty years. His reputation has been enough to see him stay in that position for the time being, but if he didn’t have that reputation to begin with, then he probably would have lost his job a year ago.

            2. Just a couple of thoughts. First, there is no guarantee that EJ has to be right every time.

              Secondly, if EJ is right, I wonder if Merc’s thinking is that if Brawn couldn’t do anything but digress with his friend MS on board, then what is he going to do without him? Answer, according to the likes of PM..not enough.

              And Brawn, in the MS/Ferrari hayday, looked brilliant. But then they all looked brilliant when they were dominating with advantages hand over fist over the rest of the grid. As soon as all the ducks aren’t line up in a row, suddenly everyone is coloured by the car, and the brilliance factor falls off.

    9. Yes wonderful lets get rid of the man who led the outfit to it’s only championship and then still finish only third, fourth or fifth. Mercedes (the car company) seem to think they are entitled to a championship or something and that if they are stern enough and sack/hire some people that it will just fall into their lap. Big Luca over at Ferrari also seems to suffer from this syndrome.

      1. I really wish we could edit comments again because my rage is causing me to make silly punctuation mistakes ;_;

    10. I can’t see Brawn going. I do see this year being make or break for him if they don’t remain competitive throughout.

      1. I really can’t see him going quite yet either. Right now it will feel like being ousted (), just look at it, Haug out, Brawn out, Schumi out. Mercedes doing a big cleanup. Feels like knee jerk (on the other hand they did get 3 years to do it).
        I would imagine that such a move would not look good. It would make far more sense to just silently fade him out during the year and then have him announce his retirement for 2014 “to give the young guns a chance to shine with the new rules” or something towards the end of the season.

    11. In another interview, toto said he’s concerned about Fry only

    12. The wise man in me thinks 50 million dollars per race is steep.

    13. While we’re on the subject of the movements of key personnel between teams, the Italian media – reposted by the German media – claim that Ferrari are off headhunting Christian Horner to replace Stefano Domenicali.

      1. I don’t think so for 2 reasons :
        After the disaster of Abu Dhabi 2010 Stefano Domenicali admitted in an interview to AutoSprint that he has actually thought to resign from his position of team principle at Ferrari but the Luca Di Montezemolo refused his resignation
        Christian Horner has extended his contract at the end of last season with Red Bull , Mercedes also were looking for him but they failed to sign him
        I can’t see how Christian would contribute in Ferrari knowing that there is no management issues in the team right now, plus the fact that Stefano’s role is all about managing the resources and the ensuring that every dollar of budget will be spent correctly

        1. Well, he apparently met with Ferrari’s personnel manager.

          It would be a good way for Ferrari to destabilise Red Bull. Even if they don’t get Horner, there would still be questions about Horner’s loyalty to the team. Especially when he owns Arden International, the team Red Bull run a lot of their young drivers through. Antonio Felix da Costa is racing for them in Formula Renault 3.5 this year. And then they’re Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jnr. racing for MW Arden in GP3. If Horner switched to Ferrari, he’d probably give Ferrari access to a lot of the drivers Red Bull have their eye on, so the first thing the team would want to do is consolidate their hold on those drivers. Ferrari could easily push the team into disarray as they focus on everything they have going on parallel to the actual team.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys It would definitely be a wise move from Ferrari. I myself have never warmed with Domenicali, he seems to lack the power Todt had – since 2008 they’ve lost three titles at the last race, and the decision to keep the under-performing Massa cementifies the Ferrari fmaily, but weakens their ability to fight for wins, which they should care about more. Red Bull’s rise has been amazing since they were founded, and although I’m not sure how much Horner had to do with this, considering Vettel and Newey did most of the job, I think he is the best team manager currently. I always liked Whitmarsh as well, but as with Todt and Domenicali he seems to be a weaker character than Dennis was, and McLaren’s results have also been disappointing.

      2. That’s interesting.

      3. If they’re going after Horner, they’d be also going after Newey by extension. And potentially Vettel too.

        Ferrari is partying like it’s 1995/1996, it seems, with these mass recruitments.

        1. Horner and Newey come in package.

          1. I understand Newey wont move to Ferrari as his wife doesnt want to live in Italy

    14. One version of what’s going on in Merc. Maybe they are building two powerful teams – one for 2013 and one for 2014. This is why they have so many high-level guys recruted. It would make sense to heavily invest this year to get most out of the 2014. But because of 3 sad seasons for Merc, they can’t write off this 2013 season either. So effectively they are building two strong teams at the moment. And who doesn’t perform will be kicked out in 2014.

      Patty Lowe would be great addition to the 2014 car development team. Surely he comes with all the McLaren 2014 information and ideas. Not a bad deal to get McLaren info for 1m €. Cheaper than 100m € McLaren had to write off for Ferrari info :)

      1. @f1lauri I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. The interesting question is, what will Mercedes do with 2 “teams” come 2014? If I was Ross Brawn and I wanted to retire, or my doctor had told me to retire or die, I would start to build a new management team, overlap and train them up for a while, then leave. It’s the responsible thing to do – very Ross Brawn.

        And it fits with what we’re hearing.

        1. Oh yes, now I too remember that Ross Brawn had some health issues last year. He has achieved everything to achive – twice – or even more times. Your theory makes sense. I hope that Merc can’t blaim Brawn for not succeeding for the last 3 years. And if he leaves this or next year it’s his own decision.

    15. Mercedes were not one of the biggest spending teams; therefore i find it hard to believe they, as a public company, would now double their budget on the back of a difficult year trading year to run two design efforts.
      Hard decisions are being taken here by businessmen in pursuit of success; there is no love of F1 or sympathy for Brawn/Haug etc and what they have done in the past.
      Nikki has a hatchet and it has Norberts blood on it already, more to follow…

      1. Don’t forget that you are building the new engine at the moment. And you are designing the car around the engine at the moment! You have to do it already. All bets are on 2014. But you also have to run in 2013.

        I don’t know exactly how the engine client rules are, but couldn’t Merc just sell their 2014 clint engines to slower teams? If you believe you have the best engine – just don’t give client deal to McLaren.

    16. Big mistake to fire Ross Brawn in my opinion. I would think Lewis is fuming with all this happening and unsettling the team before the new car’s even out.

      Seems like Mercedes are trying to reduce their F1 bill already, not a good sign for the future.

    17. Too much drama at Mercedes. This doesn’t bode well for a team that wants to go out there and win races. They shouldn’t be having all these distractions 7 weeks to the first race of the season.

      1. But they might not be distractions at all…might not even be noticed by the team if in fact all this is simply media rumours.

    18. I worry about the changes at Mercedes. First of all, there are too many changes. Is it simply a case of the results are disappointing so the coach has to go? Second, I find the changes themselves odd. Niki Lauda: what has he done over the past few years except make controversial criticisms of Hamilton? And what credentials does Toto Wolff have to replace the man who was behind 8 driver’s titles?

      I also wonder how Lewis feels about all this. He hasn’t driven a single kilometer for the team yet, and already two of the people he respected most at Mercedes, Norbert Haug and Ross Brawn, are gone or on their way out.

    19. EJ has become a specialist in reveling Mercedes stories ,the only way to stop him is to sign him with the team !!!!!

      1. COTD COTD ……… :P :P ..But i know it wont be so …….Great stuff man :P LOLZ

    20. What to you expect with Niki Lauda in charge? he’s already encouraged Haug to depart and now he is after Brawn’s scalp, I hope Ross goes to McLaren and sorts out their abysmal pit lane craft!

      1. @nome I suspect if Ross won’t retire, he’d be off to Williams. Frank is short a couple of potential team principals right now, and Ross wouldn’t have to go too far, either.

    21. “….. And what credentials does Toto Wolff have to replace the man who was behind 8 driver’s titles?”

      Uhmm, because he OWNS 30% of Mercedes GP?

      I see a bit of a local fight in these things happening atm. Dieter Mateschitz is based in Salzburg and Toto and Niki are Viennese. The capital trying to put the local back to its position?

    22. Did Schumacher know this was going to happen and then decide to retire i wonder? Or was he just old…

      1. Seems they hired LH while MS was dragging his feet in coming to a decision and letting Brawn know about his future. ie. I don’t think MS ‘decided’ to retire as much as his hand was forced by the hiring of LH. And I think the fact that Brawn is still on the team this year, and it may only be rumours as to him leaving, means to me that MS couldn’t possibly have based his retirement decision on the chance that Brawn would be gone after 2013.

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