Mercedes AMG Petronas team principal, Ross Brawn, has announced he will be leaving the Brackley-based team at the end of December.
The vastly-experienced team principal has decided to leave F1 and will hand operating duties over to Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe ahead of the 2014 season.
Brawn’s future has been a point of discussion for some months, but his announcement has still come as a shock to a sport that holds him in high regard.
However, Brawn has stressed that he is not retiring, but instead taking a break before looking at his options during summer.
He said: “I’ve got to take a break for a while and see how things pan out. I’ll take a few months off, perhaps go and see a few more football games. Maybe around the summer time I’ll decide what’s happening.
“I think if I get involved again in motorsport it will be Formula One, but I’m very open minded. I think it depends what motivates me, and what people offer, so we’ll see what happens.”
Niki Lauda, the non-executive chairman of Mercedes, added: ““First of all and most importantly, we must say thank you to Ross. 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 and he put the plans in place to recruit the key people from early 2011. The performance this season shows that the team is on the right track.
“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. I believe that Toto and Paddy are the right people to lead our team in 2014 and beyond.”
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both scored Grand Prix victories during the 2013 season. Rosberg won around the streets on Monaco and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Hamilton tasted the victory champagne in Hungary, and under Brawn’s leadership Mercedes-Benz finished second in the Constructors’ championship behind Red Bull and ahead of Ferrari.