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Ross Brawn: “I will work with Paddy Lowe for six months, then soft handover”
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XPB.cc
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jul 2013   |  4:59 pm GMT  |  59 comments

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has spoken openly for the first time about phasing out of his role and handing over to Paddy Lowe.

And it looks like he is thinking of this happening after the end of this season.

The 59 year old has given an interview in the German newspaper Die Welt this weekend in which he speaks about working alongside Lowe for the next six months and then a phased handover will take place, with Brawn moving to a new role.

It is believed that this will be along the lines of Patrick Head’s involvement with Williams for the last few years before his retirement.

When the news of Lowe’s recruitment by new Mercedes team CEO Toto Wolff broke in January, Brawn was on the back foot. At a press briefing, attended by JA on F1, Brawn used an aggressive defence, asserting, “I’m the team principal and I’m in charge, ” while rumours swirled that he had told incoming chairman Niki Lauda that he could not work with him.

Six months later and the team is on the up, second in the constructors’ championship with two wins, two podiums and six pole positions to its credit. Lowe is now in post and the two are to be seen in the paddock and on planes in each other’s company a lot.

“People of his (Lowe’s) caliber are not easy to come by. So it was clear that we should bring Paddy to us. However, the plan was designed more for the future,” said Brawn. “The idea was that my role in the team would change with time and Paddy would then take on more responsibility.

“There should be an ongoing process, so to speak. However he arrived earlier and we need to rethink our original plans. At the moment Paddy helps wherever he can. Paddy and I have known for over 20 years. We can talk about everything.

“I am responsible, Paddy works for me, but at some point in the future this will change. I will work with Paddy for the next six months, maybe longer. When the transition occurs, there will be a soft handover.

“I don’t know yet (exactly when he will step back). I’m already looking forward to the new season. 2014 will be a very exciting year, because a completely new technology comes into play. Mercedes will be in a promising situation. It will be great fun!”

As for the specific role he will play in the long term Brawn said, “I do not know what role I will play in the team long term. There are various options. I like the team and the people in a team.”

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59 Comments
  1. Valentino from montreal says:

    On paper, it SHOULD have worked out !

    Schumacher + Brawn , anything else but the Championship would have been consired a failure ..

    One of the biggest let-downs in F1 history to be honest … 3 years of frustration and only 1 with some promise , due to McLaren falling off the cliff ..

    Schumacher should have never come back … I say this only becuase MSC will be associated to the failed Merc project in years to come ..

    But for me Schumacher will always be FERRARI !

    1. snailtrail says:

      What some people say is Schumacher made the difference at Ferrari – thats what made him a great – now according to you on his return with Merc its the teams fault he wasnt a winner – shouldnt he have been able to make a difference like he apparently did at Ferrari?

      1. Valentino from montreal says:

        That’s because Ferrari were competent , NOT INCOMPETENT like Brackley … !!

    2. Grant says:

      Sorry Val, but Rosberg totally EXPOSED Schumacher….

      Besting him comprehensively throughout that three year period.

      I fear Vettel will soon suffer the same plight, against a genuinely competitive teammate.

      1. Grant says:

        *Beating

      2. Valentino from montreal says:

        Who bested who in 11 and 12 ?

        If it was’nt for the constant mechanical failures on MS’s
        Merc he would have ” bested” Nico …

        So far Nico has “bested” Hamilton pretty much , would’nt you say ?

      3. Kbdavies says:

        “So far Nico has “bested” Hamilton pretty much , would’nt you say ?”

        In what world exactly is Nico “besting” Hamilton? It is ok not to like a driver, but not at the expense of diminishing his achievements.
        Rosberg has been in the same team and car for 3 yrs. If Lewis was losing to Risberg, it is expected; as he is new in the team. If he is matching him, then will be doing pretty well. However, Lewis is actually beating him; yet some people can’t see that!

      4. Quade says:

        Please can we move on from Schumacher? Maybe it was age, different tech, or skill, but he was repeatedly beaten by Nico.
        That is not to say Schumacher was not a great talent who was a talisman in his day.

        Where you get the idea that Nico is beating Lewis is beyond me, though. Perhaps, at blackjack or something else outside F1? Certainly not in F1.

      5. D@X says:

        Well seems Nico got “bested” by Lewis and its only a matter of time before Lewis dominates the team. Nico has an advantage as he knows the Car and the team more than Lewis. But for the team I think its a good paring and a balanced one…well we dont know whats going on behind the scenes.

      6. D@X says:

        So we have another entry in the form of “Risberg” or is this the reserve driver for when Rosberg is tired.

    3. Edson Framil says:

      The bottomline is that there wasn`t any Rory Byrne designing the Mercs…

  2. Phil Glass says:

    Ross may be around a while yet, because the loophole is: He said six months, but didn’t say six CONSECUTIVE months. So this could be one month every four, or one month per year… Interpret as you like.

    1. Yak says:

      What? He said, “I will work with Paddy for the next six months, maybe longer.”

      The next six months means the next six months. He also added, “Maybe longer”.

      Not everything in F1 is a bizarre cryptic puzzle that has to be deconstructed and interpreted from 45 different angles.

      1. Simon says:

        Yeah that’s more how I read it. It was more open-ended than cryptic

    2. Flying_Scotsman says:

      This made me laugh.
      Nice one phil.

    3. kris says:

      How can you have a loophole in completely unregulated speech?

  3. Jo Torrent says:

    Who pushed for Paddy LOWE to replace Ross BRAWN ? WOLFF or LAUDA or did Merc board ask for scapegoats and not only one (HAUG) ?

    I feel sorry for Ross though. He’s such a great engineer who never looked for spotlights and who took full responsibilities for the Pirelli test. It feels sad to see him being pushed out.

    1. AlexD says:

      I do not think he is being pushed out. He earned a fortune when he sold Brawn GP to Merc, he won so many titles with several teams and he just might be seeking for something else. This kind of life is stressful and why do you think he needs it? He can afford anything and have a happy life. I am sure that he will try to have a much more influential and less stressful role and he is happy to have Paddy taking his duties at some point in time.

  4. goferet says:

    Well the cat is finally out the bag and I have to say, the future isn’t as bleak as originally feared.

    What Lewis and the fans were worried about is for such a brainy bloke like Brawn to cash in his chips and head home but seeing as he will stay on in some capacity, the team can always turn to him for advise and whatnot and whenever things get out of hand (technologically wise) he can always step in to steady the ship.

    So yeah, this isn’t so bad besides, Brawn already made his name with Schumi and so now under the guidance of Lowe, the new Mercedes drivers can try and make a legacy of their own just like what Horner did for Vettel or Ron Dennis for Senna.

    As for when Brawn will step back, I reckon if Mercedes are fighting for the championships in 2014, he will see the team through till the end then hand over but if not, he will hand over early 2014.

    Meanwhile, maybe somebody at Mercedes put Lauda under a court injunction for it’s so odd that he’s this quite about any anything.

    1. Simon says:

      i think niki is taking a step back after trying to broker the offline pre-IT deal that was rejected by brawn and woff. if so, fair play to him as that was a poor move, and good on wolff sticking by ross.

      1. Alek Tronicks says:

        What is “the offline pre-IT deal” ?

      2. Simon says:

        The one he reportedly tried to broker with Bernie to keep the Pirelli affair from going to tribunal. Understand that it involved a financial settlement with no sporting penalty. Brawn and Wolff declined and chose to stand up and face the tribunal.

  5. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    IMO at the end of this year it could be a good success for the team if they beat Ferrari, Lotus or both in the WCC, but not yet, time will tell.

    To beat McLaren (that it was unexpected at the start of the season) IMO is not a big deal since it’s more McLaren to blame for that.

  6. John M says:

    Shocking, never saw this coming.

    /takes tongue out of cheek

  7. Anne says:

    Let me guess. His new role will be Roscoe´s caretaker.

    Ron should try to persuade Ross to go to McLaren. The Honda deal sounds interesting enough I think. Ross if very familiar with both Honda and Button.

    1. F1FanaticBD says:

      That would have a major boost for McLaren, as because Ross has the capacity to run in that sort of team with that sort of caliber. But I guess these sort of things only happen in the dreams of a Mclaren fan, not in reality.

    2. Quade says:

      That would mean sacking Whitmarsh who is just about as immovable as the rock of Gibraltar.

  8. Veena says:

    Poor Brwan you are gone, and there goes the Merc. With lauda and wolf I dont see a bright future.

  9. Random 79 says:

    Hands up if you didn’t see this coming…

    1. Jonathan says:

      shouldn’t that be “hands up those who did see this coming”? I don’t think those who didn’t are capable of lifting their hands!

  10. rob in victoria bc says:

    I never realised that Ross is that tall.

    1. Valentino from montreal says:

      It’s not Ross who’s extremely tall , it’s Lowe who’s a munchkin !

      1. D@X says:

        Hobbit and the White wizard!

    2. Me says:

      He might not be, there is an alternative.

    3. Random 79 says:

      Ross: You see Paddy, this is the top step of the podium. This is my spot.

      Paddy: Yep, no wonder you seem so tall…

    4. Mike Cassie says:

      He’s not Paddy is a midget….
      Oh well, not a surprise, I suspect Ross took full responsibility for the tyre testing palaver so any handover could be partially blamed on that fiasco. Do you really think Mercedes (Wolff & Lauda) would have not known and not endorsed the test?

  11. zombie says:

    Will Ross Brawn finally go “home” to Ferrari as a team principal ? Or will he join his old buddy Rory Byrne at his resort in Thailand ?

    Earlier this year, a Canadian journalist mentioned the possibility that Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher may join hands to build a world-class drivers academy. Maybe there is some truth in it after all…

    1. Anne says:

      His old budy Rory Byrne is not in Thailand. He has been at Maranello helping Ferrari with next year car. However I´m not sure Ross wants to be there again,never say never.But I think Ross could be better off in a new place. James Allison will be back at Ferrari next season. I don´t know in what capacity. Ferrari has to make it official.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        http://thejudge13.com/2013/07/28/daily-f1-news-and-comment-sunday-28-july-2013/

        This may of interest.

        Rory Byrne was working with Ferrari on the LaFerrari project. When that was finished, he has begun working on the 2014 car, from about April.

  12. Antonis Papadakis says:

    well looks like Mclaren is now all over the field(ferrari mercedes red bull) but we already know who got the better part don’t we Vettel.

  13. Quade says:

    Really sad to see Ross Brawn slowly leaving. He holds more driver championships than the rest of the paddock combined.

    Truly awesome.

    1. Dougel says:

      Newey holds 10 WDC, Ross holds 8, so I don’t see how your stat adds up…but yes he is awesome… :)

      1. Quade says:

        I checked and Adrian Newey has 9, not 10. But I was equally wrong about Ross Brawn; he’s won 15 World Championships, not 9.

      2. Chris says:

        You originally said driver’s champmionships of which Ross has won 8 in 94,95, 00,01,02, 03,04 and 09. Newey won 9 WDC in, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98, 99,10,11,12. Newey also won 9 constructors cups,so that 18 championships to Newey in total. Either way he beats Ross, sorry.

      3. iceman says:

        You could arguably credit Ross with one more of each for 2007. He was on sabbatical from Ferrari that year but would obviously have played a large part in the development of that car.

  14. maxtnt says:

    snake is behind me,will he bites me if i´m friendly to him?

    we know who the snake is-they call him wolf

  15. Eric says:

    I still don’t know why they are in such a hurry to get Brawn out. Unless Brawn wants to retire/become less active then it doesn’t make much sense to me. Maybe he liked being technical director more than team principal and will do more of the technical stuff when he hands over.

  16. Mhilgtx says:

    Well as you guys said this was probably going to happen. Why I don’t know. Will Buxton did say he thought Ross was tired of the travel and looking to scale back a few races ago.

    Too bad one of my favorite people in my fledgling love affair will be out of the spot light by the end of the year. Wonder how Lewis feels?

    When this was First announced I thought that lewis was probably the engineer of the whole ordeal with PAddy. Now I think that was a bit too much.

  17. AuraF1 says:

    To be fair to Brawn he was gently talking about retirement in 2009 – he made a lot of money from the Mercedes buy out and he’s actually kept going longer than he or his family probably envisioned. While retiring as the constructors champion and having a WDC in 2009 with a team named after him might have been poetic – I think he wanted (and was heavily encouraged by those handing him vast sums of money) to have one last run at it. I think now Mercedes are actually showing they can actively win races on a semi- regular basis he’s not going to feel like he’s bowing out on a low again.

  18. Anthony Young says:

    This could turn out badly for Mercedes. Lowe has no qualifications for the job of team principal. He was appointed only because Brawn was perceived as being a failure and too soft to sort Brackley out. In fact, he was doing a good job, both in hiring Hamilton and in developing the team. Two wins and six poles later, hiring Lowe looks like a silly gamble, but they’re stuck with it.

  19. Joel says:

    I hope Sir Frank gets straight on the phone. I’d love to see him at Williams!

  20. Richard says:

    Everyone has to acknowledge age, and I think while Brawn wants to leave the team in as good a shape as possible, and of course does not want to miss next years big change. It’s good to see Brawn and Lowe get on so well, and I suspect they are birds of a feather really. It’s likely the soft handover will happen mid season next year. I can understand Brawn not wanting to work with Lauda as he is a loose cannon clearly at odds with Brawn’s careful reasoned approach.

  21. AlexD says:

    I would love to see Brawn taking the role of Domenicalli or Witmarsh. It could be a real option, I am certain. Maybe this is what is going to happen.

    Domenicali out, Ross will join as a team boss. He will have James Allison and Pat Fry and some other folks to design the car. Not bad, could work.

  22. BlueRacer says:

    When I read news about Ross Brawn and Mercedes it always seems to me that they are pushing him out somewhat against his will, even when they say “it’s his decision”…

  23. Serrated Edge says:

    I would love to see Ross at McLaren.

  24. Frique says:

    Come on lads. Ross and Mercedes are taking quite a pragmatic approach to this. Sam Michael is in training to replace Whitmarsh. As mentioned before age is a factor here. Merc are being quite prudent actually least we forget Ross was away last year with health issues. What reassures me is he will likely still be around in some capacity. More importantly, Lewis has always had a good working relationship with Paddy which should ensure continuity. Best F1-fan website by the way! Keep up the good work James. Always seem to have a higher calibre of comments/fans. Always a pleasant visit.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks. Tell your friends!

  25. Javier Marcelo says:

    Come back to Ferrari and help Alonso to transform drama into a dream. And do it now, better than tomorrow

  26. Torchwood Five says:

    This feels like a shame. As a Lewis fan, when he makes such a momentous team move on the basis of working with Ross Brawn, it feels like the carpet being taken from under, to have him taken out of the equation.

    I suppose at least they get to work together for one season.

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