sport

Lauda: Brawn will return to F1

Niki Lauda has admitted he is "very sad" about Ross Brawn's decision to quit Mercedes but doesn't believe that Formula 1 has seen the last of the renowned Englishman.

Mercedes last week confirmed the sport's worst-kept secret by announcing that with his Team Principal responsibilities to be shared going forwards by Executive Directors Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe.

Brawn, who turned 59 last month, has yet to give any firm indication as to his next moves and has been linked with various teams, including former employers Ferrari and Williams, along with a role working under Jean Todt at the FIA.

It has been thought likely that Brawn will first take some time away from F1 before deciding his longer-term plans, and speaking on Sunday ahead of his appearance at the Autosport Awards where he picked up a lifetime achievement award, Lauda, Mercedes' non-executive chairman, revealed Brawn had told him he would first spend some time focusing on his other well-known passion - fishing.

The Austrian, added, that he would continue to tap into Brawn's knowledge and experience from afar as a "consultant".

"I'm very sad about it because I wanted him to stay another year," Lauda was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"But he says he wants to go fishing. So I really tried hard but he stays a consultant to me which I think is very good and important.

"He says he wants a rest. So it's very simple. I think he will not go in pension (retirement), this is clear.

"I think he will come back, I don't know with the (governing) FIA or whatever he likes to do."

Acknowledging that the departure of Brawn, a multiple title winner at various teams over the past two decades, leaves a void to fill, Lauda nonetheless expressed confidence that Mercedes' new dual management team would step up.

"Now Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe, and Paddy especially on the technical side, has to fill this big hole he (Brawn) has left," the three-times World Champion added. "Don't worry, I am going to kick them like you do not believe... and hopefully we can keep on going."