Brawn leaves executive board of Mercedes GP

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Ross Brawn has left the executive board of the Mercedes GP team, according to a report in the Cologne newspaper Express.

Brawn and his partners including Nick Fry have now sold 100 per cent of the Brackley based team to Daimler and Abu Dhabi shareholder Aabar.

The next step, according to Express, is team boss and Briton Brawn's resignation from the executive committee, with the tabloid surmising: "The parting (of Brawn) moves closer".

Brawn, however, insists the move just makes it "Easier for me regarding what my role will be in the coming years".

He insisted his board resignation is his own decision.

Mercedes' motor sport boss Norbert Haug commented: "Ross remains the team chief and can now concentrate completely on this role."

And Brawn insisted he is not yet thinking about retirement.

"So long as a physically can, I will continue," he said. "However this will be my last team in formula one."

Red Bull still way ahead

Red Bull is keeping cards up its sleeve ahead of the crucial qualifying session in Melbourne.

That is the view of Mercedes' Norbert Haug, who warned that the practice timesheets so far should be read with caution.

"If Sebastian Vettel wanted, he could be a second faster," the German is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, before Vettel upped his pace to be a second quicker than the nearest non-Red Bull in Saturday practice, Lewis Hamilton.

"So, no matter how much progress we have made, Red Bull is still way ahead," added Haug.

Michael Schumacher agrees: "I'm sure they have not showed their full potential."

McLaren's Jenson Button was quickest late on Friday but he is also wary of Red Bull.

"I know they weren't using their (adjustable) rear wing when they set their quick laps, so they have another five or six tenths available to them," he said.

Fernando Alonso, however, said before travelling to Australia that he thought McLaren would be in the running this weekend.

"There were those who said Ferrari and Red Bull are ahead of everyone, so whoever is surprised now about McLaren is their problem, not ours," he is quoted by the Spanish newspaper Sport.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh told the BBC on Saturday: "I don't think we have seen the best from Red Bull but I hope we will be giving them a hard time."