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.
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.
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.