There has been a ramping up of speculation this week about the position of Ross Brawn at Mercedes.
In the gap between the Korean and Japanese Grands Prix the team principal was linked with a move to McLaren and Honda, but has denied this.
In Suzuka he clarified his situation, saying that he will stay with the team as long as he is the “reference” for the team, in other words that his role has authority.
Mercedes has a lot of chiefs, from Chairman Niki Lauda and CEO Toto Wolff, both of whom also have shareholdings, to Paddy Lowe, who is understudying Brawn’s role as head of technical and sporting matters, to Bob Bell who runs the technical department. Within that technical department there are a number of former technical directors of other teams like Aldo Costa and Geoff Willis.
“There is a lot of discussion going on,” Brawn told BBC Sport. “We’ve got quite a heavy senior management team at the moment and we have got to understand what we are all going to be doing. And for me it’s important that there is clarity of responsibility and that I’m motivated by the role that is developed. That’s what we are discussing.
“Any successful F1 team has to have a reference, it has to have a senior reference and that’s the big question. We need to make sure that if I am to remain here that I’m the reference. If that can be achieved then it’s a very exciting year and that’s what we are working to.”
At the start of the year, when it became clear that Lowe was on his way and that the team was in danger of repeating the mistakes of Jaguar Racing, where there were too many leaders and no-one knew who was in charge, Brawn strongly asserted himself, “I’m the team principal and I’m in charge,” he said.
The team has evolved a lot this year and the management team is certainly capable of running without him. However they would miss him, with his extensive experience and knowledge of what it takes to succeed.
But the way things are going, it looks as though the long term role for Ross is one with less authority and that may ultimately lead him to feel that his future lies outside Mercedes.
* Meanwhile it looks like a key member of the Red Bull technical team is on the move; McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh confirmed on Saturday that Red Bull head of aerodynamics Peter Prodromou, a key man in Adrian Newey’s team, has signed a contact with McLaren. Red Bull boss Christian Horner said that Prodromou will be working at his team “for some time yet.”