Jan 24 2013
Lewis Hamilton addressed the Mercedes workforce for the first time on Thursday, adamant he had not joined a team in turmoil.
Team principal Ross Brawn now finds himself part of a triumvirate in which Toto Wolff is to take on the position of executive director of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd, working alongside non-executive chairman and former three-times Formula One world champion Niki Lauda.
Wolff is understood to have been eager to bring McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe to Grove - paving the way to suggestions the former would replace Brawn - but Hamilton, looking and sounding confident, said: "I've been assured by Ross his commitment is for the long term and he is here to try to win with me, which reassures me and gives me a positive feeling moving forward."
He added: "There are lots of good people here and I've obviously had great experiences with Paddy, but he works with McLaren as far as I'm concerned."
Asked as to the importance of Brawn to the future prospects of the team, Hamilton said: "Having a head figure in the team is vital in any business. In any team it's important to have that head figure who leads the way and who is the one that inspires everyone to go that extra mile."
As for walking into a team in turmoil, Hamilton responded: "No, I don't think it is. Everything feels really positive for me. While today is the day I get to speak to the team, I have been around and about and there is a great spirit here.
"The guys seem hungrier than any group of people I've seen before. They seem seriously hungry to win and excited they have another shot at it this year."
For his part, Brawn has wasted no time in speaking to Lowe personally to assess the merits of the rumours, insisting: "I know all the plans for the future of the team, and I hope I'm going to be a part of them for a very long time. And when I say 'hope' I mean that I continue to find the excitement and the motivation and the reasons to go racing because racing gives me a buzz.
"I don't feel the time is right for me to stop. I'm motivated, I'm excited by what we're doing. I want to do it.
"I've said before, failure is one of the greatest motivations. We've had some poor years, and that has driven me even harder to make sure we do things right."