F1 Winter Break
Ross Brawn to become sporting boss of F1, not replacing Bernie Ecclestone
Posted By: Editor   |  01 Nov 2016   |  11:35 am GMT  |  201 comments

Former Mercedes boss and Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn is set to take on a new role as head of Formula 1’s sporting side, JA on F1 has learned.

Following his interview in the Telegraph on Saturday, we suggested that Brawn could help to shape the future of F1 after he ruled out returning to run a team.

Today, this website has had information that the deal is now agreed and Brawn will mastermind the future sporting elements and regulations of F1, shaping the cars and the sport of the future.

So in this sense he will not be a direct replacement for Bernie Ecclestone as he will not be responsible for dealings on the commercial side of the series.

In much the same way as an F1 team now does not have a single team principal to manage it, dividing the technical responsibility and the CEO/commercial role, it appears that the same will be true with F1 post the Liberty Media ownership switch. For how long Ecclestone remains that commercial hub is the key question. He is not used to working alongside people and his relationship with Brawn has been up and down – particularly through the Brawn GP era and aftermath.

It is understood that Brawn’s responsibilities will focus on liaising between the F1 teams and the FIA, which is and will remain the regulator of the F1 world championship. This will not be easy as the teams have enjoyed a powerful say in the regulations and Ferrari has a veto right over rules it does not want. In negotiations for F1 agreements between F1 and the teams beyond the current deals expiring in 2020, this veto is likely to be off the table.

A bold strategy would see Brawn try to introduce systems to level the sporting playing field, while still allowing the richer teams scope to innovate their way to continued success.

The 61-year-old Briton was the technical director at Ferrari between 1996 and 2006, during the period that the Scuderia was run by Jean Todt, who is now the president of the governing body of world motorsport.

Ross Brawn Jean Todt

Brawn also knows how to run an F1 team after taking charge of the Honda team in 2008, which became Brawn GP in 2009 when the Japanese manufacturer pulled out the sport.

His eponymous team won both the drivers’ title (with Jenson Button) and the constructors’ world championship in 2009 before Mercedes bought it ahead of the 2010 season.

Brawn continued to lead the Brackley-based team until the end of the 2013 season but in recently released extracts from his upcoming book – written with former Williams CEO Adam Parr – he revealed that he left the squad because he felt he could not trust Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda, who had been made Mercedes’ motorsport boss and non-executive chairman respectively by the manufacturer.

Ross Brawn

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph last weekend, Brawn ruled out a move back to F1 as team boss – he was approached about taking over from Ron Dennis at McLaren and has often been linked with a return to Ferrari – and he also volunteered to come back in a more central role to shape the F1 rules for the future.

“That’s how I like to be involved in the sport,” he said. “I would never go back to a team. I did everything I can in a team, but I would be repeating myself.

“For sure, trying to help F1 become a better F1 would be appealing. It would be the one thing that could be interesting. If you ask me what F1 needs, it needs a plan; a three-year and a five-year plan.

“My view is we haven’t got the ideal structure for creating that plan and implementing it over time.”

What do you make of the news that Ross Brawn will re-enter F1 to head up the sporting side of the championship? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

I do still hanker after the original hi-pitched engine noise.
You want exciting? That was exciting. So much so that clips on radio/TV promoting F1 still run with the old sound, not the current wet farting sound.


96 percent approval rate.
Maybe he should have been running for President


I don’t mind the engine noise anymore. Anyone who misses it could go to the occasional drag race to get their dose! Heck, you can buy a road car that make lots of noise. But hurry, because manufacturers are putting turbos on everything! 🙂


Wrong James I’m afraid. There’s a moral here and that is “Never trust the German media”.


He denied the rumor.

Alianora La Canta

The problems with F1 are systematic, and the last time Ross found himself in a hostile situation of questionable trust levels, it didn’t end well. For that matter, the mess is so big that I have doubts that any single person, no matter their previous achievement, is going to be able to make much headway here. Sorry.


All the best Ross Brawn.
Welcome back 👍
This should be interesting, when Paddy greeted Ross at Mercedes as he took Brown’s job. Be nice for Ross to greet him with “Hi I’m F1 sporting big chief ” 😉


I am not sure.
The reason is not in Brawn, but in the position itself.
We have big changes in 2017, which quite probably will turn F1 a boring overtake-less procession.
Which brings us to question – how soon will new “new” changes be made?…


The best way to cut the spending of the big teams and foster massive technical innovation is to… take away all spending restrictions AND put in place a rule which requires all teams and engine manufactures to submit their most current designs, in every detail, to the FIA twice a year. The FIA would then make public on their web site all these designs with a four month delay.
You MUST attack the incentives to get a given result. Mercedes spending $280 million on their engine development will never happen again if all that IP development is suddenly available to everyone, for nothing. There would still be an incentive to compete, there always will be, but not in money spending. Spending $40 million on wind tunnel usage would not happen and on and on. This new approach would focus all minds towards innovations that are less costly and more relevant to other car things. F1 is filled with massively creative engineers and they would go to work with a set of much more interesting and less costly innovations which would make for a more even field of competition.
Spending is killing the entertainment of competition, F1 has fallen in love with hyper technology which can only be found after massive spending, end it all by making the exclusivity of the IP perishable in the F1 realm.
Please Mr. Brawn, may we have open IP after four months, please…


“The FIA would then make public on their web site all these designs with a four month delay.” For aerodynamics that happens right now, just much faster. Teams have spies, photographers, engineers etc who sole job is to record the changes in other team’s cars. Listen in to the radio communications, photograph the underneath of cars on cranes, even record their audio to determine the rpm they use around the circuit.

There is very little that a team keeps secret from their competitors from one race meeting to the next. Internal components within the mechanicals are somewhat of an exception but knowing what the individual component is frequently doesn’t help understanding why it’s there and how it works with the other components.

Many other successful motorsport series around the world (NASCAR, Indy Cars V8Supercars etc) survive on the Keep It Simple philosophy. For sure F1 should be the pinnacle of motorsport but right now it’s far too complex for the enthusiasts let alone the general public. It’s far too complex for anything but a $billion manufacturer team and that’s never a good thing.


Finally, the voice of Reason may speak loudly, and they will Listen.


That’s what Formula 1 needs – another Boss…


Won’t comment on the specifics of what I think he should do, but this is great news. Ross is a calm, sensible man who knows how to look at the big picture. He doesn’t make knee-jerk reactions to potential issues, and that approach is what F1 has been sorely lacking over the last 10 years or more.

Welcome back.


The sport is in disarray because of the rules and the current fanbase demographic.

Needs a MASSIVE overhaul.

In the older days the poster on the wall the car was an F40. Now..
The poster on the wall now is representative of the era we are in.. we now call them Hypercars.

Too many penalties, too complicated, MOTOGP offers plenty of excitement why cant F1?

Hennie Jooste Jnr

This is the best news ever for F1. His reputation is beyond reproach and his character is unquestionable. A man of honour and integrity. Clever of the new owners to get him involved. His experience and knowledge is immeasurable. Hope he gets unequivocal support from everyone


And still Bernie is there….

Lots of respect for Brawn, but will have to wait and see if this is a role in which he can drive change, or just another cook in the Kitchen.


The rules are already set for next year so let’s see how it goes. Only then we will be able to opine on what will be required in the future. FWIW I like the hybrid engines….but they should have foreseen the need to allow unlimited updates in a new engine formula and I’m hoping that this is what Ross will bring to the table…..foresight.


It’s a no brainer that someone of the caliber of Brawn should be involved in the sport. Glad to see the poll reflects that.


Brawn could make Wolff and Lauda pay for their “sins” when the former got fired from the Mercedes team.


Praise the lord! Whatever he does, you know its going to be good.

Just hope he has the authority to push through changes without the teams vetoing everything.


Please let this be true, and please let the opportunity not be squandered.


I’m not sure a mere “positive” really covers how great this could be!


To win at the slowest speed posible will always be the norm no matter the regulations. Loser will always complain that something isn’t enough. If winners do too, then change can be considered.


Loser will always complain that something isn’t enough. If winners do too, then change can be considered.

Hamilton has criticized the current situation with regards to fuel and tyre saving on more than one occasion over the last 3 years. And he’s managed to win two championships in that time span…


There is always a limiting factor whatever the rules. Tyres, fuel, brakes, engine life, super-capacitor gradual breakdown, whatever, there is always something.


What’s your point?

Fact is there never in history have been such severe limiting factors as than those that are artificially imposed today. Unless you just straight-out don’t believe drivers such as Hamilton and Alonso when they say as much??


For F1 to become attractive to the USA it is going to have to change considerably.
Ross is going to have a nightmare of a job, with the Americas wanting several steps backward to the kind of things that SeeBee mentions above. Maybe they would be better off with the historic series.
While logic and the ethos of F1 as being the cutting edge of motor sport and technology, support the view that F1 should continue to be the leader in high tech racing, the move toward more electrical energy storage and usage, with eventual four wheel electric drive and many possible electrical drive enhancements. With the undoubted emphasis now in mainstream mass car markets aimed at electrical (rightly or wrongly given the wastage of free methane gas in many situations and easy hydrogen from water splitting) it is apt that the great efficiency of energy usage is transferred to the mass market. There are some obvious future directions that could make significant advances in hybrid racing, (ambient superconductors and re-introduction of the flywheel storage as per LMS)

So I think Ross is to be torn in two directions, forwards by the teams and backwards by Liberty, they do not need another Indycar or CART, NASCAR is the national motor sport and F1 as it is, will not gain a mass following in the USA, it is too elitist, too high tech, and far far far too expensive!


I hope Ross isn’t just a middle man/referee between the FIA and the teams as I fear this job entails. Let’s hope he is given the autonomy and power to really lead the sport forward rather than acting as a powerless diplomat between in another fudged deal between the teams and the governing body.


I hope they get somebody like Peter Canyon that understand smaller teams need more money for the sake of the whole show.
Regardless of the revenue increase for small/medium teams, the money goes back to the bigger teams as they have to purchase drivetrains from the manufacturers.
No matter what F1 will always be a pirana club. :-/

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