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Ferrari team boss Jean Todt has confirmed that his team has a "gentleman's agreement" with (former Technical director) Ross Brawn (left), which the Englishman would be breaching were he to enter negotiations with Honda, which is said to be seeking the Englishman's services.
While the rest of the paddock is struggling to think what attraction Honda might possibly have for Brawn, since it will clearly take more than one man to get the Japanese team back on track, Todt said that he hopes to discuss matters with the Englishman.
"The truth is Ross decided to leave his position to gain some time for himself," he told Todayonline.com. "We agreed with him that should he decide to come back and remain in this business, he would come to me first to discuss it together.
"Maybe he does not want to be in racing," added the Frenchman, "maybe he wants to be in another part of competition, but we can discuss that. Brawn has done many things" for Ferrari. I am only open to the idea of discussing with Brawn his future."
Brawn was part of the team that turned Ferrari from also-rans - albeit glamorous, legendary also-rans - who had won just two Grands Prix in the five seasons leading up to Michael Schumacher's recruitment in 1996.
In 1993, Ferrari, whose last title was the Constructors' Championship ten years earlier, recruited Peugeot Motorsport Todt, who immediately set about restructuring the team. In late 1995, he lured Michael Schumacher away from Benetton, and in 1997 signed up Brawn and Benetton designer Rory Byrne. The rest is history.
No one doubts Brawn's abilities, not least Todt. However, the Englishman was part of a unique team at Maranello, a team which - for various reasons - cannot be recreated, certainly at Honda, where the philosophy is entirely different to that which turned Ferrari from also-rans into a dominant force for much of the first half if this decade.
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