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Relaxed Ross Brawn looks likely to turn his back on F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Feb 2014   |  7:09 pm GMT  |  106 comments

Ross Brawn exited Mercedes at Christmas and this week has given strong indications that he will not return to a frontline job in F1.

Speaking at the Motor Sport Hall of Fame evening on Wednesday, he said that he had “no plans” to return to F1. This weekend he has gone further at a fishing event in Scotland, telling an audience that he has retired “and it’s not tongue in cheek.”

The 59 year old has made a fortune, selling his eponymous team to Mercedes for €123 million in 2009 and earning multi million salaries every year since the late 1990s. He certainly doesn’t need to work again.

Speaking to him on Wednesday, when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, Brawn was in relaxed mood and looked very fit. He has lost a lot of weight over the winter. He now has four grandchildren and is a hands on grandfather, but time will tell whether he really feels that he doesn’t have another challenge in him.

He had been linked with the CEO role at McLaren, but it is hard to imagine him working with Ron Dennis and reporting to him. Equally, a return to his first team in F1, Williams, has been mooted, but the rebuilding job required to take that team back to the top, against well funded works teams appears a challenge too far for a man who has little left to prove in F1.

Brawn is the only technical boss to have won Grands Prix with four different F1 teams.

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Having many years involvement with Daimler Benz, the politics would be unbearable and require Ross to leave, Benz bought the Brawn/Honda deal on advice from Norbbet Haug and it was a dud! (as was Haug) Benz would hate being done over and the board would insist Ross be flicked, Niki Lauda being Niki in the background wouldn’t have helped. Benz have spared no expense in getting the “right” people to build a new winning team, Ross was never a consideration and wouldn’t be consulted on who they hire. Make no mistake Ross got the elbow. The relevance of the new engine formula to marketing will require results and they will be super competitive this year, Ron Dennis knew he wouldn’t get the “right” engine hence the Honda for 2015. It’s all about the business culture and ain’t pretty.


He’s out of F1 on enforced gardening leave.

He is full of Mercedes Intellectual Property which if any team got now could bring them forward a year if their own technology is flawed.

Imagine Honda. If they had him now they’d be much stronger for 2015. If they have to wait until end of 2014 / 2015 to get him, the material impact of the car development is minimal for the 2015 season.

The net gain for Mercedes is effectively 2 years!


As an ordinary fan I will miss Ross Brawn. He seemed to be a gentleman as well as a brilliant designer and people manager. I don’t remember him ever being nasty in interviews when others would be parcelling out blame. He epitomised cal, and I liked him for that. If you really have retired Ross, God bless you. Enjoy you future.


Just two things on this:

1. I’m blaming Merc / Tote Wolff / Niki Lauda for Ross Brawn’s exit.

2. When the Kimi to Ferrari rumour began last summer, Ferrari strongly denied it. Turned out to be true not so long after. So never say never to Ross coming back (hopefully to McLaren).


Have a feeling he will reluctantly return at some point to bail out the brackley team when mercedes decide they’ve had enough in much the same way peter sauber did.


This is all a cover story! Ron has already hired him but carn’t announce it untill the summer! and the reason is Honda!!

Mclaren have a 30hour limit on wind tunnel and CFD use. Honda have no limit. Also Mclaren have to run a 60% model inside the tunnel, Honda can use a full size car.

I bet A MP4/29 is in Japan now or soon for Honda to stick there PU in, as you know an F1 car has no fans, it is cooled by passing through the air. I am sure the Renult PU has done 1000’s of hours running on a dyno, stick it in a car with body work around it it is not as good.

I am convinsed Ross is leading a team of Honda engineers running a (or more) wind tunnel 24/7. They will wont to come into the sport with a bang and win. This is why Sam said “we have the biggist budget ever this year” because they have Honda bankrolling next years development. Ross can do this from home going to Japen once a month at the minute then go more often in the summer when every one has forgotten what he is upto. After the summer break Mclaren can announse Ross’s appoinment, he downlowds all the data he has gaind onto Mclarens softwhere, the MP4/30 is born. Honda can carry on testing untill the end of the year before they are annoucnsed as a suppler.

The Mclaren will be the best car of 2015, because they can run wind tunnels 24/7 to develop it.


Call it denial on my part….but if you were being asked by the press the same question time and time again, you’d rather just lie so they’d get off your back.

I hope we see him back, but equally hope that he deserves his retirement


He’s a legend in F1 regardless. I wish him the best whatever he wants to do.

Valentino from montreal

Ross Brawn thanks Michael Schumacher everyday !



What about Ross returning to the team where he started his F1 career, Frank? That would be a pleasing circularity!


Brawn will buy caterham at years end of the little malaysian guy for $1 and flick it for much more a couple of years down the track.


Personally I think we will just have to wait and see. Everybody speculated that he was retiring for good when he left Ferrari and look what happened then! If the right challenge comes along I think he will be tempted, Formula E anyone?


He certainly doesn’t need to work again, for sure. Whether he comes back or not, he will have my respect forever. Thanks Ross for the Ferrari days and Button’s title.


Because Formula One is no longer the pinnacle of motor sports? So makes hectic traveling not worth it for Ross anymore.


Ross Brawn will be back in f1 sooner or later. He is still too young to not do anything. Williams or lotus should go calling to him.


I was just reading a self congratulatory Q&A with Toto Wolff on the site that left my skin crawling. Wolff’s assertion that the position of Team Principal is an anachronism was not only condescending to Ross Brawn but showed ignorance of the distinction between organizational strategic leadership (Board of Directors) and operations leadership (CEO, Team Principal, etc.).

To be losing Ross Brawn to F1 (if his retirement sticks) so early…to this type of faddish structural nonsense…is just frustrating.

I am sure Red Bull has been agonizing about their structural deficiencies in the wake of four consecutive driver and constructor championships. Christian Horner will obviously be the next to go.

I had really looked forward to cheering a Mercedes championship at some point since their return to the sport, and as much as I could enjoy either Rosberg or Hamilton taking the driver’s crown, I am just really put off by this bit of business.



the problem is, he has enough status not to work under anybody – especially under Ron 🙂

On the other hand, he has always most enjoyed the technical side of the sport, not administrative.

And that’s the conundrum: he doesn’t much like politicking and all the boring duties of a team boss, but that’s the only role he can accept with dignity.

So he retired.

The only role I can see him in, is some special strategic group (technology) leader under FIA.


James, great article. but what a shocking photo! relaxed he does not look…


Ross looks like he’s just stepped in a big puddle or something! You know, that feeling, of “oh bother!”


As you say James, Ross has nothing left to prove in F1- not on the technical, racing and team management side. But I find it very interesting that he previously said he would take a year off and then decide – is he just really enjoying his time off so much or is it a case that nothing thrown his way is appealing ??.

If it is the latter I would dearly love to see Ross return as a the leader of the FIA -take the reins from Jean Todt and really drive it into the next decade. I cannot think of anyone who has the strength of character to stand up to the commercial rights holders and come up with bullet proof regulations that are equitable to all parties- no just F1 but any code. I think his experience and knowledge and success at all levels would be invaluable in steering all stakeholders to a common sporting goal.


He said not too long ago that he would go fishing and then see what sort of offer might come around summer time. Why the quick reporting of him being done?


I’m not sure if people are interpreting what Ross said correctly. What he said is when he accepted the invite for the fishing thing, the organisers didn’t realise they were onto a scoop. Clearly he accepted the invite before announcing he was leaving Mercedes. That’s the scoop. He’ll be back at some point. Wait and see.


in a similar vein i too retired at an early age [54] and whilst brawn is 59 that is still young. whilst it sounds ideal, believe me, after the recuperation phase from the relentless travel/business pressures an emptiness arrives.

most high level operators need something all encompassing to fill the void. brawn will also feel this and he will need something fulfilling to engage his interest. fishing? i very much doubt it.

as james noted, money is not what brawn really needs, so i would think that some technical consultancies in a relative field may well suit him. i will watch with much interest to see what happens.


Leave the guy alone. He knows what he is doing. 🙂


Wish I was Ross Brawn…


In F1 you either retire or get retired. Clearly he was pushed by Mercedes but I can understand feeling like he has done it all and got the t shirt so why bother.

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