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Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda says he hopes team principal Ross Brawn will still be in charge next season despite fresh speculation that he could be on his way.
Paddy Lowe, who was given an early release by McLaren, is expected to replace Brawn in the long term but has already joined the team as a technical executive director to work closely with the team principal and Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, who is also executive director.
Reports in Germany suggest that Brawn had informed Lauda over the Korean Grand Prix weekend that he was actually quitting Mercedes, and could even switch to a role with Honda.
That has been dismissed, however, with Lauda saying that talks with Brawn continue and he is still hopeful he can be convinced to stay on board for the crucial 2014 campaign.
“I am in negotiations with Ross Brawn,” Lauda told German media. “There’s no decision on how things will be in the long term.
“That’s the situation. And that’s been the situation for some time. My goal is clearly to retain him, but he will only make the decision at the end of the year.”
Brawn has been linked with a return to Honda or a switch to McLaren after they promised to add to their technical personnel in Woking, although the top brass at McLaren have consistently said he will not be joining them.
Brawn was team principal for the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last foray into F1.