Mercedes boss Ross Brawn says current competitiveness won't alter 2014 approach
Brawn says team can't allow current success to distract them from next year
By James Galloway at Spa. Last Updated: August 25, 2013 2:34pm
Right place, right time for Brawn
Ross Brawn insists Mercedes won't compromise development on their 2014 car despite the team having further underlined their credentials as serious contenders for this year's championship in qualifying at Spa.
From what through free practice had appeared unpromising beginnings, and then wildly changing conditions during qualifying, Lewis Hamilton brilliantly emerged right at the end of Q3 to secure his fourth straight pole and Mercedes' eighth in the last nine grands prix.
Although the team's qualifying dominance is now well-established, Hamilton's victory at the last race in Hungary also underlined the team's fast-improving race performances and any win for the Briton on Sunday would be the team's fourth in the last six.
Hamilton on improving Mercedes
However, while naturally keen to secure as much success as possible before this year is out, Brawn remains adamant that Mercedes aren't about to lose sight of the bigger picture, namely the major regulation change on the horizon next season, and start shifting plans around.
"We're not thinking in terms of winning a championship," the Team Principal told reporters on Saturday night. "Obviously I don't want that to sound like we don't want to win the championship, of course we do, but we're not compromising our 2014 programme.
"Our 2014 programme is well defined. It's in good shape. It's progressing well. Some big challenges remaining but we're certainly not going to compromise that.
"There's always a float of people who you can move around a bit and that's what we are working with. We want to try and win as many races as we can but we don't intend to compromise our '14 programme."
Despite Mercedes' strong recent form moving them into second place in the Constructors' Championships, Red Bull retain healthy points leads in both standings heading into second half of the season and Brawn insists Sebastian Vettel is still the most likely 2014 World Champion.
"I think everybody recognises what a great job Sebastian's doing and there would have to be some unusual circumstances [for him not to win the championship]. It can happen," Brawn argued.
"But it's not changing our approach, that's the important thing. We've got a very good programme with the '14 car, it's progressing well. Lots of our team our focused on that and they're not going to be distracted by that. There's a small amount of things we can do for the rest of this year and things keep going we'll continue with."
However, he made clear that Mercedes were nonetheless focused on retaining the momentum they've built up with the W04 and that their strong position in the championship necessitates anyway that they have to manage their resources to an extent between two cars.
"The reality is that being in a position where you can abandon the season, it's normally because you've not got a very good car. Fortunately we've got a good car this year and we want to keep it going," he said.
"In 2008 when I was with Honda we had a pretty poor car that year. It's a pretty easy decision half-way through the year to say 'right, let's forget it', leave a crew of people to run it for the rest of the year and 100% focus on doing all the preparation for next year.
"If you're in good shape you don't have that opportunity: you have to manage your resources all the time. Red Bull are having to manage their resources between this year and next year, Ferrari are, all those teams are. So it's a measure of where you are that if you're having to manage the resource between '13 and '14 then you're in a good position."