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Mercedes prioritising 2014 over 2013
Ross Brawn says his Mercedes team will not compromise 2014 by chasing after the title this year.
Mercedes has gone from strength to strength this season and now lies second in the championship after winning three of the last five race and taking pole position at seven of the last eight. Lewis Hamilton, who starts from pole position in Belgium on Sunday, is 48 points off championship leader Sebastian Vettel, but team principal Brawn said Mercedes would not be lured into compromising its 2014 programme in pursuit of the 2013 title.
"We're not thinking in terms of winning the championship," he said. "I don't want that to sound like we don't want to win the championship, of course we do, but we're not compromising our 2014 programme.
"Our 2014 programme is well defined, in good shape and progressing well. There are some big challenges remaining but we are certainly not going to compromise that. There is always a float of people you can move around a bit and that is what we are working with. We want to try and win as many race weekends as we can, but we don't want to compromise the 2014 programme."
Brawn said it would require some "unusual circumstances" for his divers to beat Vettel to this year's title.
"It's great to win races, that's why we are here. We want to win as many races as we can this year and things will develop as they develop. I think everyone recognises what a great job Sebastian is doing and it would have to be some pretty unusual circumstances, it could happen.
"We're not changing our approach and I think that's the important thing. I think we have a very good programme, with the 2014 car is progressing well and lots of our team is focused on that and won't be distracted from that. There are a small amount of things we can do for the rest of this year and a number of things we will continue with. The reality is that if you are in a position where you abandon the season, it's normally because you don't have a very good car. Fortunately we have a good car this year and we want to keep it going.
Brawn's last title came with his self-titled Brawn GP team in 2009, which rose from the ashes of the abandoned Honda team that struggled throughout 2008 and took advantage of regulations changes. The new engine formula for 2014 could present another opportunity to steal a march on the field but Brawn said the circumstances are different this year.
"In 2008 we had a pretty poor car that year and it was a very easy decision to say 'Let's forget it' and we left a crew of people to run it for the rest of the year and then went 100% focused on the next year. If you're in good shape you never have that opportunity and you have to manage your resources all the time. Red Bull have to manage their resources all the time, Ferrari are, all those teams are. It's a matter of where you are, but if you are having to manage your resources it's because you are in a good position. We certainly won't compromise 2014 and what comes from 2013 will come."