The Formula 1 season may be done and dusted for another year, but preparations for 2014 are already underway.
Mercedes have already begun the restructuring process, and as such have announced the departure of team boss Ross Brawn.
The end of any season is also a time for immediate reflection, and emotions can still run high.
Today’s other stories include comments made by Mark Webber on his former team being deemed too inappropriate for his website administrators, and Fernando Alonso receiving a social media ban from his team.
Brawn guided Mercedes to three victories in 2013
The Mercedes Formula 1 team has confirmed that Ross Brawn will step down from his position as team principal at the end of the year.
The announcement had been expected as it was revealed late in October that the parties had failed to reach an agreement on a suitable role that he would be happy with, as reported on BBC Sport at the time.
Mercedes had been hoping for Brawn to stay on in some capacity, with non-executive chairman Niki Lauda keen to have him remain with the team.
The new restructuring means that Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe will jointly take charge of the team.
Brawn told BBC Sport that he leaves Mercedes in good hands.
The most important consideration in my decision to step down was to ensure the timing was right for the team in order to ensure its future success The succession planning 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.
Although Brawn has yet to make a decision surrounding his future, it is likely that he will remain in F1 in one capacity or another.
One strong possibility is that he will take a year out and return to join McLaren Honda.
Brawn ran the Honda team after leaving Ferrari, and the engine supplier returns to join forces with the McLaren team in 2015.
Fernando Alonso has been made to stand on the “naughty step” by his Ferrari team, and has been banned from talking about the team on his personal Twitter account.
Alonso, who was runner-up to Sebastian Vettel in this year’s title race, has made some disparaging remarks about the performance and development of his Ferrari this season—especially after the Hungarian Grand Prix.
"We will prohibit him from Twitter," Montezemolo told Italian television station Rai Uno via Motorsport.
"Although Alonso, like anyone else, can write on Twitter what he wants, everything concerning Ferrari will be communicated by Ferrari."
Appearances can prove deceptive...
Staying on the subject of social media and website accounts, comments made by Mark Webber criticising his former Red Bull colleagues have been deleted from his official website.
Webber completed his final race in Formula 1 at the Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend, ending what has often been a strained relationship with Sebastian Vettel and Dr. Helmut Marko in particular.
However, in the comments, Webber also admitted that he and team boss Christian Horner were not as close as they once were. Per In Auto News:
Christian is going to be with the team for a long time – indefinitely, you’d imagine, unless he gets an approach from somewhere else – so he’s got to make sure that he tries to keep everything as smooth as possible. In some cases that hasn’t been something which might have benefitted me. That’s put a stress on the relationship.
Webber also criticised Dr. Marko by saying “he was very critical of me from day one” and that “he’s probably disappointed that F1 teams have to have two cars. But they do.”
He also talked at length about his relationship with Vettel and that it was hard to draw a line under all that has happened between them.
There’s so much water under the bridge between us that it’s hard to think of more positives than negatives.That’s a bit disappointing because you want to keep everyone in a respectful light, and give them as big a chance as possible, for as long as you can. But I think there’s probably too much that’s gone on between us. Maybe when we’re 50-odd things will be different but with what we’ve been through it’s hard to draw a line under too much of it.
Aside from banning Fernando Alonso from Twitter, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has also had a pop at Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
Ecclestone raised eyebrows in the Interlagos paddock by labelling Red Bull boss Christian Horner as his “ideal successor.”
However, in an interview with Rai, Di Montezemolo laughed off the suggestion. Per The Telegraph:
"Ecclestone sees Horner as his successor? As the years go by, he more and more enjoys making jokes and I’m happy he still has the desire to do so.”
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh says there will be no excuses for McLaren not to return to the front end of competition next year after the team endured its worst season in Formula 1 since 1980.
The Woking-based team failed to secure a single podium this season, and Whitmarsh is quoted on Autosport as saying there will be no excuses with the engine regulation changes in place as it is a level playing field for every team.
With the big rule change coming for 2014, it really is a clean sheet here. There are no excuses for next year. Will we have a competitive power train? I don't know.
There are lots of people who appear to be very knowledgeable down the pit lane, and I don't know what data they have got to know that. But having said that, what I know in terms of level of resource and type of organisation, I think they will have done a competent job and have applied the level of resources you would want on it.I suspect we will be competitive.