Jenson Button says 'great team leader' Ross Brawn would be a loss to Mercedes
McLaren ace suggests any departure would only aid rivals
By James Galloway at the Yas Marina Circuit
Last Updated: 04/11/13 8:29am
Formula 1 has arrived in Abu Dhabi ahead of this weekend's grand prix with Brawn's plans in to 2014 at the centre of fevered speculation amid reports, which Mercedes chief Niki Lauda has denied, that he has already decided to quit the Brackley outfit at season's end.
The renowned Englishman was now McLaren driver Button's Team Principal in 2008-2009 and oversaw his countryman's title-winning year in the latter campaign when the team ran under the Brawn name following the sudden withdrawal of previous owners Honda.
Button has put on record in the past his admiration for the multiple title-winning chief and speaking at the Yas Marina Circuit on Thursday the 33-year-old suggested that Brawn's departure from Mercedes would only benefit the Brackley team's rivals.
"It would be a loss to the team that he was working for I think, it's not a loss to the rest of us - it's actually a good thing," Button said.
"Ross is a great team leader, he's very strong and he's a very confident individual. I think everyone needs someone like Ross in their team.
"So surprised to see that he's leaving. There are obviously some reasons for that, but difficult to know what they are."
Should Brawn and Mercedes part ways before next season, the 58-year-old has already been linked with a future role with McLaren, either directly at the Woking team themselves or returning 2015 engine partners Honda, although the former scenario in particular is considered unlikely.
Brawn's name has also been mooted regarding Williams or even a role overseeing F1 at the FIA under former Ferrari colleague Jean Todt.