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Wolff plays down Brawn exit rumours

ESPN Staff
January 22, 2013 « Buemi to continue as Red Bull test driver | Kubica to test a Mercedes DTM car »
A BBC Sport story has speculated that Ross Brawn could be pushed out at Mercedes © Sutton Images

Mercedes' new head of motorsport Toto Wolff has played down speculation that he is looking to replace Ross Brawn as team principal.

On Monday Mercedes announced that Wolff had joined the management team alongside Brawn and Niki Lauda and that Wolff would also become a shareholder in the F1 outfit. On Tuesday stories emerged in German publications suggesting Wolff was attempting to poach McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe, with BBC Sport suggesting the McLaren man's arrival could result in current team principal Brawn being pushed out.

However, during a teleconference with British journalists later on Tuesday afternoon, Wolff said he is hoping Brawn stays at the team.

"Ross is there and Ross is part of the leading team and I hope Ross is going to stay," Wolff was quoted as saying by journalist James Allen's website JA on F1. "This is the current situation. If you look at Ross's track record, it's fantastic.

"It would be foolish to talk about replacing anyone… That is speculation in the media, I think I would be aware of that. Ross is there and he is part of the team and I hope Ross is going to stay as long as possible."

Talking about the rumours surrounding Lowe, Wolff said: "Paddy is a recognised person in the paddock, he has been with McLaren for 15 or 20 years. I've read it in the paper, that's all I can tell you. Obviously in F1 there is always a lot of speculation about personalities joining or not joining, but there's nothing I can tell you at this stage."

The BBC Sport story quoted Eddie Jordan as a source, who was also the first to break the news that Lewis Hamilton was heading to Mercedes from McLaren. Jordan suggested that Wolff and Lowe would take over the responsibilities of Brawn and CEO Nick Fry, although a Mercedes spokesperson described the information as "highly speculative".

"Paddy Lowe is going to Mercedes and it would appear that Brawn and Fry are on their way out, and Lowe will be there in a very senior capacity," Jordan said. "Lowe won't be technical director; he'll be more senior than that. But he won't be called team principal either because that will be Wolff. But Lowe will effectively be running the team on a day-to-day basis."