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Brawn defiant amid talk of change at Mercedes

Ross Brawn has been in position at Mercedes since the manufacturer returned to Formula One in 2010.

Story highlights

  • Ross Brawn is focused on role at Mercedes despite speculation over his future
  • Reports suggest Brawn could be replaced by Paddy Lowe in 2014
  • Lowe has been placed on gardening leave by McLaren ahead of exit in 2014
  • The 2013 Formula One season begins with the Australian Grand Prix on March 17

He's working under a new boss and rumors are gathering pace that he could find himself looking for a new job in a year, but Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn is focused on delivering success ahead of the 2013 Formula One season.

Brawn is one of motorsport's most celebrated engineers, best known for the nine years he spent with Ferrari between 1997 and 2006 which saw the Italian team win six constructors' championships and five drivers' titles.

He went on to oversee drivers' and manufacturers' success at the eponymous Brawn GP team in 2009, but the Englishman's position at Mercedes is rumored to be under threat following the announcement McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe will join the German team in 2014.

However Brawn, who is now working beneath Mercedes' newly-appointed head of motorsport Toto Wolff, is focused and confident ahead of the new season getting under way in Australia on March 17.

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"I am responsible for the sporting side; running the team on an operational level," Brawn told the sport's official website. "If we can maintain that then there will not be a problem."

    Despite the recruitment of Wolff, the most high-profile new arrival at the German team ahead of the new campaign is 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton -- who ended a career-long association with McLaren to sign a three-year contract with Mercedes in September.

    Brawn has been impressed with Hamilton during preseason testing, despite a hydraulic problem causing the British driver to crash out of his first drive for the team at Jerez.

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    "Lewis is a fantastic driver from a speed, competitiveness and racing perspective, and now we have to learn to work together on an engineering and development side," continued Brawn.

    "I must say that the short period he has been with us has been very positive, and there is no doubt that he is now a part of our team."

    Fresh challenge

    Events at Hamilton's old team could have a huge bearing on the future of Brawn and Mercedes.

    Former director of engineering Tim Goss has been promoted to the role of technical director at McLaren, with team principal Martin Whitmarsh confirming previous incumbent Lowe is to leave the marque in 2014.

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    "Paddy will be performing a different role within McLaren until the end of the year," Whitmarsh told the F1 website.

    "He's been a good and successful F1 technical director, and we wish him well when he embarks on a fresh challenge in 2014."

    Reports have suggested that fresh challenge could be filling Brawn's boots at Mercedes, though Mercedes GP non-executive chairman Niki Lauda was coy when quizzed about Lowe's possible arrival.

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    "I cannot officially say anything because nothing has happened yet," three-time world champion Lauda told BBC Sport.

    "If Paddy Lowe is coming or not, I cannot tell you now. Make up your own [mind], whatever you want to do.

    "The situation is as it is. McLaren have put him [Lowe] on gardening leave, so let's wait and see. To be clear, Ross has not even been discussed, which is an important thing.

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    "But there's peace. Ross is in his position, he will stay in his position, so everything is under control, there is nothing to make out of this."

    Having not won a title in the sport since 2009, Brawn insists he remains determined to bring glory to Mercedes over the coming season.

    "I think it makes you more ambitious -- hungrier to get back to that feeling that you had when you were successful," added Brawn.

    "Formula One is an incredibly challenging business and one has to be right on several levels to achieve success. We convinced Lewis (Hamilton) to join us, and we put in place a very good technical line-up during 2012 -- and the car we've got now is reflecting that.

    "Yes, it has been frustrating, but I genuinely feel that we are going in the right direction."

    Glove auction

    Meanwhile a pair of racing gloves worn by F1 great Ayrton Senna have been sold for £22,000 ($33,000) at an auction in London.

    The Brazilian wore the gloves during the 1991 season, when he clinched the last of his three world championships while racing for McLaren.

    Senna lost his life following a crash at Imola in 1994. The proceeds from the sale of the gloves and the 10 other lots in the auction will be donated to the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust.