x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Ross Brawn not the only muscle at Mercedes-GP, says Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton remains confident Mercedes-GP can fight for the Formula One world championship next year, even if, as is expected, the team principal Ross Brawn decides to walk out on the German manufacturers.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton does not want to hear talk of Ross Brawn leaving the team at the end of the season. Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton does not want to hear talk of Ross Brawn leaving the team at the end of the season. Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters

ABU DHABI // Lewis Hamilton remains confident Mercedes-GP can fight for the Formula One world championship next year, even if, as is expected, the team principal Ross Brawn decides to walk out on the German manufacturers.

Brawn has been involved in no fewer than 16 world championship victories during a lengthy career that has involved stints as technical director at Benetton and Ferrari as well as head of the self-titled Brawn-GP, who won the drivers’ and constructors’ titles in 2009.

The 58-year-old Englishman’s remarkable success is believed to have been a key factor in Mercedes’s ability to lure Hamilton from McLaren, where the 2008 world champion had been since he was 13 years old.

Yet Hamilton remained calm on Thursday ahead of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, stressing the strength in depth of Mercedes will set them in good stead in 2014.

In the past 12 months, Mercedes have recruited Niki Lauda as a non-executive chairman as well as Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe as executive directors.

“When I made the decision it was based on a lot more things than just Ross,” said Hamilton, who signed with Mercedes last October. “Ross wasn’t the only thing I came here for. It was a bonus to have Ross here because of how much experience and success he has had at his previous teams.

“At the time, he was the one who came and showed me the progress the team were making and the direction they were going, but any boss would have done that.”

BBC continue to report that Brawn has already made his decision and will leave at the end of the season after failing to agree a deal with Mercedes that would have seen him remain in charge, but Hamilton is unconvinced and stated he did not believe “any decisions have really been made just yet”.

There was similar positivity emanating from Ferrari, despite Fernando Alonso’s hopes of securing a third world championship being rendered impossible for another 12 months this past week in India.

Earlier this year, the Spanish driver was publicly criticised by Luca di Montezemolo, the Ferrari president.

However, Alonso suggested he operates in a utopian racing environment.

“It was perfect, it is perfect and it will be perfect,” Alonso replied when asked about how the relationship with his Italian employers has evolved this season.

“We need to be realistic, knowing that we didn’t have the chance this year to fight for the championship. In the beginning of the year we were a little bit closer but then we were not quick enough, and we are fighting now for other targets, which is second place in the drivers’ championship.

“That was not the main priority when we started the season, but it’s still a good target to achieve.”

Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus are in a three-way battle for second, with Hamilton’s team leading Alonso’s by just four points. Lotus are a further 24 back.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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