Ross Brawn is set to step down as team principal of the Mercedes F1 team at the end of the season, according to the BBC Sport Website and Eddie Jordan.
Mercedes has refused to comment and a team spokesman told this website, “The team is making no comment. When we have something to announce we will do so.”
However Jordan’s sources have been pretty solid on Mercedes news for the past 14 months, due to long standing connections with one of the most senior figures in the organisation.
He predicted the hiring of Lewis Hamilton last year and has run a narrative all this year that Brawn is on his way out of the team. Our own sources during the Indian GP weekend indicated that Brawn was reaching the end of the road on negotiations over his role.
The 58 year old Brawn has been in limbo ever since incoming executive director Toto Wolff and chairman Niki Lauda made a move to hire Paddy Lowe from McLaren in January.
Originally a “soft handover” was scheduled, with Brawn gradually releasing control to Lowe over a period set to stretch into 2014. Then Brawn said last month that he would like to stay with Mercedes, but only if he could remain the “reference point” for the team.
It appears that the negotiations have not resulted in any conclusion over what role Brawn might fulfil in the vision Wolff and Lauda have for the team and so now Jordan’s sources say that Brawn will leave after the final race of this year.
He will be sad to do so, as he has expressed great interest in seeing not only the new 2014 turbo technology come through, but also the fruits of work he has done to build up the team to championship level. Lewis Hamilton has repeatedly spoken of Brawn’s presence at the team being one of the key reasons why he jumped ship from McLaren.
After three seasons in charge, following the sale of his Brawn team to Mercedes in 2009, Mercedes wasn’t making much progress, so the Daimler board called in Lauda and Wolff as executives and shareholders. They have a vision for the team in which Wolff runs the business and political side while Lowe runs the engineering and racing side.
Meanwhile Brawn, who will soon turn 59, may well have the appetite for a fresh F1 challenge, according to our sources in the F1 paddock. He has been linked with a return to Honda, when they partner up with McLaren in 2015, but no doubt other teams will be on alert. Brawn made a huge capital gain as main shareholder when his team was sold to Mercedes for £120 million after winning the 2009 world championship, so he doesn’t need to work again and his family has been expanding recently with the arrival of grandchildren.
But it may be that Brawn has one last F1 challenge in him, having won world titles with three F1 teams already, just like his nemesis Adrian Newey.