Toto Wolff has played down rumours Ross Brawn is shaping up as the sacrificial lamb in the Mercedes ‘testgate’ scandal.
The German marque is touted to face the FIA’s new international tribunal on June 20, but team boss Brawn seems to have paved the way for taking all the blame. “It was my decision to do the test, that’s a fact”, Briton Brawn, whose long-term future at the Brackley based team was already under a cloud, said in Canada.
Asked if the team’s new guard, Niki Lauda and Wolff, were informed of that highly contentious decision before the test took place, Brawn insisted: “That’s not something I want to comment on.” So the rumour is that Brawn will depart off the back of the ‘test-gate’ saga, with his undoubted successor Paddy Lowe now already at work at Brackley. “What I don’t understand is that Paddy Lowe is committed to being team boss,” former F1 team owner and principal Eddie Jordan told German Sky television in Montreal. “Can you have two team bosses? No,” he answered himself.
Mercedes’ new co-owner and director Wolff, however, played down the speculation Brawn will be sacrificed. “We are a team, we are together, and the blame is not going to be pushed onto one individual, rather we support each other and we support Ross,” he told Sky. Germany’s Bild am Sonntag reports that Lauda sat down with Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko earlier this week to try to calm their anger, but to no avail. McLaren, however, has been almost silent. “I expect (it’s) because they run a Mercedes engine and depend on the goodwill of Mercedes next season,” Marko told F1’s official website. Sauber founder Peter Sauber, however, is not afraid to speak his mind. “For me, it’s incomprehensible that this test took place,” he told Spiegel.
Triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart agrees, telling Sun newspaper: “If there is a regulation that does not allow testing to take place, then that surely is black and white.” Ferrari joined Red Bull in the original protest, but team boss Stefano Domenicali has been less critical than the energy drink-owned team. “I’m not angry,” the Italian told Bild, “but I was very surprised. “I don’t want to participate in all the politics though,” said Domenicali. “I don’t want to talk about tyres, which is boring to the fans. “They want fantastic drivers, and excellent racing and action. Not week-long discussions about section 22.2 in the regulations. And it’s the same for me.”
Info: GMM, Image: Mercedes GP