Posted on March 10, 2009
Brawn confirms Fry will stay as CEO | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

Ross Brawn has faced the media for the first time as a team owner today at Barcelona.

He spoke for around 20 minutes about his new life as a team owner, the performance of the new car, his plans for the future and the decision not to hire Bruno Senna.
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The most significant comments he made regarded the former Honda CEO Nick Fry. Stories emanating from Japan were that Honda did not want Fry to be part of the management buyout. Perhaps the way around this is that he has not taken a stake in the team, which apparently is 100% owned by Brawn. But either way, Brawn confirmed today that Fry will continue in his role:

“Nick has been a key member of the team, he retains his position as CEO and his position hasn’t changed, despite the speculation. He’s been a vital part of putting this all together.”

On the decision to retain the same drivers as last year he said: “With Jenson we had a commitment from last year and we wanted to respect it, he was always an automatic choice if the team carried on. I was impressed with Bruno (Senna) I thought he did a great job in testing, but just the lack of testing and the challenge we are going to face make Rubens the preferred choice. We have very little testing and no testing during the season. Rubens has still got a huge amount left in him. It was a need to have Rubens’ experience and his speed, because I think he’s still very quick. We made no commitments to Bruno, circumstances went against him.”

Brawn took a sabbatical in 2007 and it’s a good job he did, because the stress of the last few months has been huge, as he admitted,
“It’s been stressful for the management, if we hadn’t stayed together as a group it would have been very difficult to achieve, because there were some very black days in trying to keep this team alive. But I’m glad to say here we are and we are going to Melbourne.

“If I’m frank there were no choices. Because if the management group hadn’t taken this task on all of the team would have been made redundant. Things can go wrong, but we are optimistic, but if we can capitalise on the performance of the car, and the car looks good, then the team has a future.”

“This is a medium term solution and we need to find a solution for the long term. We are comfortable for the season. We need to find partners and sponsors to support the team. We need to be flexible on what we do but we will have proper structure going forward.” He said that does not necessarily need to find a buyer long term, but that he does need to find a long term solution.

Ross, like Button, seems delighted with the initial performance of the car. It is fast and has none of the built in horrors of last year’s model.

“We have a good car, it’s well balanced, braking is much better than last year, the consistency in the corners is much better. The issue will be building in reliability. It will be a big challenge, but the fact that we are there is the major achievement. It’s essential that we display performance throughout the year and I see no reason why we can’t The guys are already working on an upgrade for Barcelona, it’s in the wind tunnel at the moment.”

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Brawn confirms Fry will stay as CEO
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  1.   1. Posted By: john g
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 2:20 pm 

    what does nick fry bring to the team exactly? apart from a big smile of course.

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  2.   2. Posted By: Finn
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 2:36 pm 

    If Ross wanted to attract money to the team, I really would have counselled bringing in Senna … he’d be a great draw around the world even if he had a middling season.

    Sponsors aren’t going to come on board to support a twilight driver like Rubens – even if he is a lovely bloke.

    Just doesn’t make any sense to me commercially.

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  3.   3. Posted By: john g
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 2:52 pm 

    as much as i don’t rate rubens any more than a midfield driver, Brawn is absolutely right. he needs the experience, the knowledge on how to set-up and develop and F1 car, and the proven level of racecraft that rubens has. it’s a much more secure long term solution than the quick fix injection of money and media coverage that senna might bring, but without a car to drive, that may well evaporate and also harm senna’s future chances of F1. he’s still young, and his time will come, but it’s not for now.

    senna is a lot more sponsor friendly, but sponsors will also follow results.

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  4.   4. Posted By: Tomys
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 2:53 pm 

    James, you are mega. Thanks for first hand info.

    Ross is looking optimistic, I wish them really well.

    btw: it just confirms, that BrawnGP is Super Aguri 2 this year.

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  5.   5. Posted By: Finn
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 3:47 pm 

    With respect, Rubens didn’t bring success to the well funded Honda and I don’t see him bringing success to Brawn GP. Yes, he can help develop the car, but sponsors don’t want to pay to have their money on a car which is in development being driven by a driver who is in the twilight of his career.

    They want to be headline news.. which is what Senna would have been at every track he visited. Brawn GP would have got lots of column inches (and thereby money) with Bruno in a seat … and without the money, there won’t be any car for Rubens to help develop.

    Senna would have given Brawn GP an edge, especially with audiences in Latin America (something Mercedes would have liked after the damage done to the brand with the way Macca treated Alonso), whereas as Rubens just makes them look flat, old and unambitious.

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  6.   6. Posted By: tdroza
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 5:30 pm 

    I’d love to see “Senna” back on the timesheets, but I have to say, I think Rubens was the right choice for BrawnGP… for this year anyway.

    When they hit the track in Melbourne they’ll have had barely any testing and Senna would have had so little time in the car. Yes he would attact more sponsorship money that Rubens, but I’ll bet he would cost a lot more in broken/crashed cars than Rubens will which is something Brawn can ill afford – no disrespect to Senna but rookie drivers (even with a full winter season under their belt) don’t tend to finish as many races as the experienced ones.

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  7.   7. Posted By: F1_Jazz
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 5:31 pm 

    I think Ross Brawn has already sorted the long term future of BrawnGP. Its still tied up in red tape in my opinion but all will be revealed on the Thursday 26th March in Melbourne.

    I personally think Samsung will be the new team title sponsor.

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  8.   8. Posted By: Eric
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 5:46 pm 

    Ross’s judgement is a faster car is more likely to bring in sponsors than a slower car but with a driver with a symbolic surname. I agree with Ross.

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  9.   9. Posted By: Ed H
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 5:55 pm 

    Rubens is a fantastic driver, at his peak. Okay, He struggles like a pig now and again, but who doesn’t? the car has been too rubbish to compare it’s drivers with anyone else’s, so we have no idea if Rubens is getting better or worse. For god’s sake, he’s only 36! leave the poor boy alone!

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  10.   10. Posted By: Raz
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 5:56 pm 

    CEO Nick fry.. Thats a deskjob ain’t it?

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  11.   11. Posted By: Facchetti
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 6:03 pm 

    Samsung Blue. Now there’s an idea … Neil Diamond meets Flight of the Conchords

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  12.   12. Posted By: Finn
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 6:23 pm 

    “The nephew of the late Ayrton Senna was eighth quickest at the end of his first full day of F1 testing, and was only 0.3s slower than the team’s race driver Jenson Button.”

    I think there was every chance Bruno would have been as fast or faster than Rubens (or even Jenson).

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  13.   13. Posted By: Dermot Keelan
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 6:42 pm 

    Its clear that the Senna/Barrichello issue is quite a divisive topic. I personally feel that the right decision has been made to retain Barrichello. From the team’s point of view the necessary funding is in place for the season which voids the argument that Senna’s sponsorship bucks are what the team needs.

    The team needs the experience that the Button/Barrichello partnership will bring them. Barrichello also has loads of experience of working with Ross Brawn and I really expect him to thrive this year if the car can deliver on its early promise.

    Also to argue that Barrichello is merely a midfield runner is crazy. He was MS’s most consistent team-mate at Ferrari and he was, quite simply, better than Button last year.

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  14.   14. Posted By: Stephen Kellett
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 6:43 pm 

    Sponsors want:
    1) To see you doing well.
    2) To see you finishing as well as doing 1.

    Both of these things they can do with the current drivers. Senna — no experience bringing a car up from nothing — makes the above two much less likely to happen.

    The above two make much more sense commercially than using anyone in Senna’s position.

    Frankly, people shouldn’t be in F1 because of their name. It should be their talent that does it. We already have one person on the grid with a famous name who most likely should not be there, but is there because of this name.

    So what, he has raw speed.

    He has no experience of providing feedback on car development at this level. With the lack of testing this year, you must make the most of this very limited running time and feedback from the drivers. Having only one driver provide meaningful feedback is pointless in this situation – you’ve got to have both of them.

    Its not as if Ross doesn’t know what its like to work with Rubens, he drove the Ferrari better than Schumacher a fair bit of the time.

    Take the blinkers off, please.

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  15.   15. Posted By: Tony
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 7:09 pm 

    I think it will end up being a good thing for Bruno that he didn’t get this ride. To go with a rookie would have been akin to setting up the team in the Shumi/Ferrari style – with a clearly defined #1 driver and a secondary driver. You could make a strong case for going that route this year, especially with limited test miles available. That’s the route Renault have gone with Alonso/Piquet, and despite what McLaren says I believe that’s the case with Hamilton/Kovalainen. And despite my aversion to it, it’s probably the way to go if you have a shot at a WDC.

    So playing second fiddle to Button, who the team would focus on, wouldn’t have been much of an opportunity for Bruno. He’d likely end up like Piquet, who I would be surprised to see in F1 next year.

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  16.   16. Posted By: Finn
        Date: March 10th, 2009 @ 10:17 pm 

    In an ideal world, sponsors want a team that is doing well, but more than anything they want coverage and publicity.

    Senna could have given the team coverage AND there’s no reason why he couldn’t have done a good job.

    I’m not against Rubens (he did better than JB last year) but he is in the twilight years of his career and he is not going to help Brawn GP to get sponsors and he isn’t going to do ‘that much’ to push the team up the grid … he certainly didn’t bring glory or money or success to Honda. Time to move on. If you think that’s blinkered … well that’s your opinion. And you’re welcome to it.

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  17.   17. Posted By: George
        Date: March 11th, 2009 @ 12:53 am 

    I think you’re putting a bit too much emphasis on the Senna name, if anything going to a team like this would be bad for Bruno, if he’s stuck at the back of the grid for a season by the next season no one’s really going to care about his surname.

    Give him some more time in GP2 and let him progress naturally rather than trying to rush him through the ranks. Most likely there will be more drivers leaving f1 next year, it seems to me the main reason the drivers are so static this year is because the teams wanted a solid driver line-up to test the radically different cars.

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  18.   18. Posted By: john g
        Date: March 11th, 2009 @ 10:31 am 

    Dermot: it’s been a few years since the MS partnership and things have moved on – the combination of a lot of new drivers coming in and the advancing years means that Rubens is now a midfield runner. yes he did better than Jenson last year, but really that doesn’t mean a huge amount.

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  19.   19. Posted By: Mike Ellison
        Date: March 11th, 2009 @ 1:38 pm 

    But would he keep it on the track? With the lack of testing, every race lap counts so Brawn can’t risk a driver having a typical rookie season this year.

    IMO he might be a Senna but if he was a Schumacher I’m thinking more Ralf than Michael. Okay, he’s better than Ralf but he’s not a mega-talent or we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

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