Mercedes boss Ross Brawn says his future wasn't discussed prior to 'Testgate' outcome
But Brawn says fact court ruled team acted in good faith was "critical"
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 24/06/13 12:22pm
Ross Brawn has insisted there were never any discussions over what impact any heavy sanction against Mercedes in the Testgate case would have on his future as Team Principal and that the board had been "very supportive" of him throughout the affair.
Prior to the outcome of the month-long tyre testing saga on Friday speculation had suggested that should the International Tribunal rule against Mercedes and impose a severe punishment - such as race bans, a heavy loss of Constructors' points or worse - then Brawn, as the head of the team, could prove the fall guy given it was his decision to go ahead and test at Barcelona.
While the Englishman had insisted throughout the build-up to Thursday's hearing that things would become clearer in the tribunal, he nonetheless acknowledged to Sky Sports F1 at the Canadian GP that "I'm an employee like everyone else in the team".
Asked by Sky Sports' Ted Kravitz in an exclusive interview on The F1 Show whether Friday's tribunal judgement, which imposed only relatively minor sanctions against the team and contained the view that they had acted in good faith throughout the matter, meant he would now stay on as Principal, Brawn replied: "To be honest it's never been discussed, so the situation hasn't changed.
"You never know what might happen if the outcome of the tribunal had been different and I'm an employee and member of the team, so things can change.
"But the board have been very supportive in this matter. For them it was also very important that the issue of good faith was established and they've been very supportive and been aware of all the facts behind what has happened. I couldn't have asked for more support from them."
Reports in the German press on the morning of the hearing had claimed that Mercedes had been offered the chance to avoid going through the process of the Tribunal if they 'cut a deal' and pleaded guilty to transgressing the regulations before the hearing, an opportunity Brawn and Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff apparently declined.
Speaking to The F1 Show, Brawn said the fact that the panel had ultimately ruled that the team had acted in good faith and hadn't deliberately set out to gain an unfair sporting advantage was a key factor for both himself and Mercedes as a whole.
"I think that was very important. There were all sorts of views on the incident and I think that was critical for Mercedes as a company and it was critical for me personally," he added.
"Formula 1 is a very, very competitive business and we know that but I think acting in good faith was a very important point for me and that's why I was keen that we actually presented the facts in front of an independent tribunal in order to establish what had happened so that that judgement could be made."
And while the tribunal's punishments took into account the mitigating factors present in the case, Brawn insists the ban from the young driver test is a proper sanction.
Ferrari, via their irreverent Horse Whisperer blogger, have already heavily criticised the outcome while Red Bull chief Christian Horner suggested prior to the verdict being announced that a ban from the young driver test "isn't much of a sanction".
"I think the young driver test is a penalty, any perception that it's not significant is not correct," Brawn insisted.
"We had quite a comprehensive programme planned for the young driver test so it will be a blow to the team and things that we were hoping to try or develop with the young drivers we will lose."