Following weeks (months) of speculation, Mercedes has confirmed that Ross Brawn will step down from his position as Team Principal at the end of 2013.
According to a team statement, following an extended period of open discussion between the team's key stakeholders, Brawn has chosen to hand over the team leadership to Executive Director (Business) Toto Wolff and Executive Director (Technical) Paddy Lowe.
"The most important consideration in my decision to step down from the role as Team Principal was to ensure that the timing was right for the team in order to ensure its future success," said Brawn. "The succession planning process that we have implemented during this year means we are now ready to conduct the transition from my current responsibilities to a new leadership team composed of Toto and Paddy.
"Mercedes-Benz has invested significantly in both the personnel and infrastructure at Brackley and Brixworth. Thanks to the one-team approach we have implemented between the two facilities, the team is uniquely positioned to succeed in 2014 and I am proud to have helped lay the foundations for that success.
"However, 2014 will mark the beginning of a new era in the sport. We therefore felt this was the right time to simultaneously begin a new era of team management to ensure that the organisation is in the strongest possible competitive position for the years to come.
"We can take pride not just in our on-track achievements but also in the organisation we have built at Brackley. In its different guises over the past six seasons, this team has delivered some of the most memorable moments of my career. Our second place in this season's Constructors' Championship is an important milestone on the road to championship success.
"I am confident that the future will hold just as much success for the team and will take real pride in having played my own part in those achievements."
"First of all and most importantly, we must say thank you to Ross," added Niki Lauda, Non-Executive Chairman of Mercedes AMG Petronas. "When you consider the step that has been made from finishing fifth in 2012 to the second place that we have secured this season, he has been the architect of this success. He put the plans in place to recruit key people since early 2011, and the performance this season shows that the team is on the right track.
"We have had long discussions with Ross about how he could continue with the team but it is a basic fact that you cannot hold somebody back when they have chosen to move on. Ross has decided that this is the right time to hand over the reins to Toto and Paddy and we respect his decision. Toto and Paddy are the right people to lead our team in 2014 and beyond."
"Last winter, we restructured the management of our Formula One activities, with the support of Niki Lauda," said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The first step was to convince Toto Wolff to join us to run our Mercedes-Benz motorsport activities and our Formula One company. The second step was the recruitment of Paddy Lowe during 2013.
"This gave us a clear succession plan for the time when Ross decided to step down from his current role, and that time has now come. I have every confidence that Toto and Paddy will build on Ross' good work and that they possess exactly the balance of skills required to lead our team to world championship success.
"I would like to personally thank Ross for the calm authority with which he has led our works team since 2010, for his crucial contribution to our team's development and also for the undoubted share he will have in our future success. It has been a pleasure working with him over the past four years and I extend all my very best wishes to him for the future."
Though he is likely to spend the remainder of 2013 relaxing it is where Brawn heads next that is really of interest.
Though he has been linked with a return to Ferrari, many believe this isn't going to happen, though we have learned never to say never as far as F1 is concerned.
While no amount of teams along the pitlane could do with his experience, there is no doubt that the FIA would benefit from his experience and wisdom.
Remembering, the adage, 'set a thief to catch a thief', Brawn, who has been involved in more than a few controversies in his time in motor sport, would be a perfect choice when it comes to creating a new framework for the sport... should the powers that be allow him the proper freedom.