Brawn future in doubt

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Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn’s future with the Brackley-based team is once again in doubt as the 2013 Formula One season approaches.

Brawn’s time at Mercedes has been thrown into doubt following the announcement that Paddy Lowe will join the team from McLaren at the end of the 2013 season.

Brawn indicated last month that he would consider leaving the German manufacturer should Lowe be signed to join the operations team.

Lowe has been an integral part of the McLaren staff in recent years and will again team-up with Mercedes’ new driver, Lewis Hamilton, and it is widely expected that Lowe will run the team on a day-to-day basis.

With Toto Wolff looking after all other aspects, Brawn would have few options at a team that is essentially the same outfit that carried his name and secured the world title just a few seasons ago with British racer Jenson Button at the wheel.

Although a formal announcement has yet to be made, Lowe is now believed to be on gardening leave from McLaren, a rumour that started when he was not present at the launch of the team’s new 2013 car.

Niki Lauda, the Mercedes non-executive chairman, said: “I cannot officially say anything because nothing has happened yet.

“If Paddy Lowe is coming to the team or not I cannot tell you now. Ross has not even been discussed, he will stay in his position, so everything is under control, there is nothing to make out of this.”

However, F1 insiders believe that Brawn will make way for Lowe towards the end of the season to allow Mercedes to start with a clean plate for the new V6 turbocharged era in 2014.