Brawn 'concerned' about Williams but confident Mercedes will stay in F1

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Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn admits he is "very concerned" about the current state of Williams.

The Grove-based team has fallen into increasingly difficult circumstances both on and off the track in recent years as operational issues at the factory have left them languishing at the back of the grid.

That, in turn, has also taken a financial toll on the team, who announced a loss of revenue last year and sold off a majority stake in their Advanced Engineering arm.

Looking ahead to 2020 there are better signs, with the car on course to be ready for testing, unlike 12 months ago, but Brawn admits stronger results are desperately needed.

“We are very concerned [about Williams],” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Williams have had a couple of very hard years and they cannot go on like this because they risk losing sponsors and drivers.

“I hope the new distribution of prize money will help them because Williams is part of the history of F1.”

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At the other end of the grid, there has also been speculation over the future of Mercedes in F1, despite team boss Toto Wolff stating this week they will be staying for 2021.

And Brawn is calm that the German manufacturer, who has won both championships in the past six years, will be attracted by the new $175m budget cap.

“I see no sign that we won’t [lose Mercedes],” he told Motorsport. "In many ways, if you go to board level they like what’s happening because they have got certainty.

“Every time that Toto goes to the Mercedes board each winter, he asks for a bigger budget because he needs it to win. So what do they say? No, we don’t want to give you any more because we don’t want to win any more?

“Now, they’re going to know what they’re going to spend. So the message that has come through from the Ole Kallenius' [Daimler CEO] of this world is that they want cost control and they want the certainty of what they need to spend in F1.”

By introducing the gap, Brawn also hopes to make the sport less vulnerable to economic changes, something that often dictates manufacturer participation.

“We want F1 teams to succeed in a much more sustainable way than now,” he said.

“They think it’s okay [right now], but when you get right to the limit, you get a little earth tremor over here and suddenly it stops. And that’s what we don’t want.

“We want Mercedes to feel that it’s such good value for money, there’s no way they’ll ever stop because why would they?

“The amount they are spending, they are getting far more return than spending and if there was a little tremor in their economic environment, it’s fine because they can cope with it and it doesn’t matter.

“And that’s why we think there’s a need for change.”