Brawn left Mercedes as he 'couldn't trust' Wolff, Lauda

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Former Mercedes boss Ross Brawn says he left the team because he "couldn't trust" Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda.

Brawn sold his eponymous team to Mercedes at the end of the 2009 season, remaining in place as team principal as it rebuilt. However, following the arrival of both Wolff and Lauda as part of the management team ahead of the 2013 season, Brawn left at the end of that year, just before Mercedes embarked on a period of dominance under new regulations.

"What happened at Mercedes is that people were imposed on me who I couldn't trust," Brawn explains in his upcoming book Total Competition. "I never really knew what they were trying to do. I mean Niki would tell me one thing, then I would hear he was saying something else."

One such example Brawn recalls is Wolff's comments to former F1 team boss Colin Kolles, which included a number of negative remarks from Wolff about the former Ferrari team principal.

"He said I was resting on my money now. I had got all this money and I wasn't interested in the team anymore, and I wasn't motivated and I wasn't doing this, I wasn't doing that. That the team needed a fresh impetus and all that sort of stuff.

"Digressing slightly, he was very new to the team and he had been flattered by the board's attention.

"What the board had said to him, from what I understand, is 'This team is not working for some reason, you're a smart businessman, you know Williams, can you just go in there and tell us what's wrong?' So he was giving Kolles a snapshot of what he was mentally rehearsing, I guess."

And Brawn says the signing of Paddy Lowe from McLaren also led to further problems between the trio, having not been informed of Lowe's arrival.

"So I was beginning to deal with people who I didn't feel I could ultimately trust; people within the team, who had let me down already in terms of their approach.

"Then in early 2013, I discovered Paddy Lowe had been contracted to join the team and it had been signed off in Stuttgart. When I challenged Toto and Niki, they blamed each other. I met them to have it out with them. And they both pointed to each other...

"I couldn't trust these people, so I saw no future unless I was willing to go to war and remove them. I saw no future with people that I didn't feel I could trust."

Total Competition: Lessons in strategy from Formula One, by Ross Brawn and Adam Parr, is published by Simon & Schuster on November 3.

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