June 9 (Reuters) - Mercedes are standing behind team principal Ross Brawn and will not use a Formula One tyre testing controversy as an excuse to replace him, motorsport director Toto Wolff said on Sunday.
Brawn, whose future has been the subject of considerable speculation, said on Friday he made the decision for the team to take part in a Pirelli test that is being investigated for possibly breaking the sport’s regulations.
Mercedes have been ordered to appear before the International Automobile Federation’s (FIA) tribunal and could face heavy sanctions.
Wolff, an executive director of the team, told Britain’s Sky Sports television at the Canadian Grand Prix that the hearing was scheduled for June 20 and was not worried about what might be in store.
Asked to comment on paddock speculation that a negative outcome would be the perfect opportunity for the team to “get rid of Ross Brawn”, with Paddy Lowe joining the team from McLaren this week as executive director, Wolff replied:
”That’s the opinion of many people but it is not how Mercedes or ourselves do business. We are all in this together.
“Ross has wide enough shoulders to have said that he has taken the decision. But the truth is we will not let him down or any other individual down in the company ... we are together and we are a team.”
Wolff said he had not known Brawn, a championship winner with Benetton, Ferrari and his own Brawn GP team, was going to take responsibility publicly for the decision to do the test but applauded the Briton for it.
“Somehow in that one sentence it shows why Ross has been so successful in the last 20 years,” he said. “He is taking decisions and hats off.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Sonia Oxley)