F1: Mercedes won’t give up Ross Brawn without a fight, vows Lauda
Niki Lauda has revealed he is doing all he can to convince team principal Ross Brawn not to quit Mercedes at the end of the season.
Speculation has been rife all year the current campaign is Brawn's final one with the German manufacturing giant.
The arrival of Paddy Lowe from McLaren earlier in the season as executive director (technical) added fuel to the fire, with Brawn himself stating there would be "a soft handover".
Talk, however, has intensified in recent weeks that Brawn will leave Mercedes following the final race in Brazil towards the end of next month.
A BBC report yesterday further underlined the point, with the team declining to comment on this occasion, as opposed to a month ago when they dismissed the talk out of hand.
As far as Mercedes' non-executive chairman Niki Lauda is concerned, the plain-talking three-times world champion is adamant Brawn has yet to make a decision on his future.
Speaking to The Times, Lauda said: "The speculation is total rubbish.
"The situation is absolutely clear - I spoke to Ross a while ago and we agreed he will come back to me after the final race of the season in Brazil to tell me whether he wants to stay or go.
"I am trying everything I can to encourage and motivate him to stay. I am the one who asked him to stay.
"I want him to do it, but it is not my decision, it is his decision.
"If he stays he will be team principal - nothing else - or he will retire."
Brawn has already made clear with Formula One facing a major change in the regulations for 2014, Mercedes requires a "senior reference", and that he should be that reference.