- Italian Grand Prix
No Mercedes driver decision soon - Brawn
Ross Brawn said Mercedes is still discussing options with Michael Schumacher for next year and, amid speculation Lewis Hamilton will leave McLaren for Mercedes, admitted a driver decision is some way off.
On Thursday night Eddie Jordan reported on the BBC that a deal between Hamilton and Mercedes was imminent, while he expects Schumacher to retire at the end of the year. McLaren and Hamilton have played down the story and Brawn said no decision was likely to be made any time soon.
"We don't comment on speculation, I'm afraid," Brawn said. "When we make our driver decision you'll be the first to hear about it, but it's still some way off."
Brawn added that Mercedes is still talking to Schumacher about 2013: "We're discussing things with Michael and there's no panic in those discussions. That's what we're focusing on at the moment."
Asked about the Hamilton story, Schumacher said: "Yeah, I heard that, but obviously there is no comment."
On the subject of him staying, Schumacher added: "We kept telling you guys that by October [we would make a decision], I may regret I said October but that's what we said, and I guess we will find a solution to tell you guys how things are going."
Brawn believes Schumacher would have a place at the team going forward if he wanted to stay.
"I think Michael has a huge amount to offer. You saw his performance at Spa, it was a great performance that we didn't back it up with as strong a car as we wanted. He's had lots of performances like that this year. So I'm very happy with Michael's performance this year and with these technical challenges we are going to face in 2014, someone with Michael's experience and calibre would be a great asset to any team. Particularly our team."
But equally Brawn wants to make Mercedes a team that does attract interest from other drivers.
"I think we want to be a team that every driver wants to drive for," he said. "We've got a tremendous history, which we want to live up to but we haven't quite got there yet. But the plans we're making and the structure we've put in place, particularly with the change in regulations which are coming over the next couple of years, we are very ambitious with what we want to achieve.
"If we achieve what we want to achieve then we want to be in a position where every driver in F1 would consider driving for us. For the last two years Red Bull has been a team that has been very competitive and I think most drivers would like to have a Red Bull under them. We want to have a situation where most drivers want to have a Mercedes under them and that's what we want to do."