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Brawn to "considerably" step back from F1 involvement

NEWS STORY
28/09/2022

F1 MD, Ross Brawn has said that he is to "cut back" considerably his role in the sport from the end of the current season.

Starting his motor sport career with March in the mid-70s, Brawn subsequently joined Williams where he soon rose through the ranks before joining Haas-Lola in 1985.

When the team quit F1 in late 1986 he joined Arrows as designer before moving to Jaguar in 1989, enjoying championship success in the 1991 SportsCar World Championship with the XJR-14.

It was shortly after that he joined the team with which he was to really establish himself, Benetton, forming a title-winning team with (designer) Rory Byrne and Michael Schumacher.

Almost a year after Schumacher joined Ferrari, Brawn followed, along with Byrne, and soon the team, under the management of Jean Todt, was to dominate the sport, the German claiming five successive titles.

In late 2007, at a time he was being linked with Red Bull, Brawn made the move to Honda, though the Japanese giant was to announce its withdrawal from F1 just a year later.

In a bold move, Brawn was part of a consortium that bought the team, and with Jenson Button went on to win both 2009 championships at the first attempt.

He then sold the operation to Mercedes and was integral in convincing Schumacher to return to the sport having retired at the end of 2006. However, at the end of 2013, having now brought Lewis Hamilton on board, Brawn quit the German team complaining of "too many chiefs".

Though very much in demand, Brawn walked away from the sport to spend his time with his family, watching his beloved Manchester United and going fishing.

However, recruited by the FIA as part of the team investigating Jules Bianchi's crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, in 2017 it was announced that Brawn had been recruited by the Formula One Group as managing director and technical director.

From the outset his role was clear, to improve the racing. Furthermore, as poacher turned gamekeeper he was determined to create a set of technical rules that while improving the spectacle would close the loopholes.

Now, at the end of a season which has finally seen his 'grand plan' in action, the 67-year-old is taking a significant step back.

"I want to cut back considerably, let's put it that way," he tells Germany's Sport 1.

"I will continue to be available with my expertise," he adds, "but I will no longer be responsible for an area every day. That means I will take care of my children and grandchildren again, go fishing more and take care of my garden."

Of course, he "went fishing" before, so there is every chance that a team may yet want to take advantage of his great experience. However, he insists that team management is out of the question.

"When you work for a team or have to lead your own, the task is so incredibly responsible, so incredibly intense," he says. "Today, I couldn't do that anymore. The emotions are so high, whether you win or lose.

"Today I enjoy helping to generate new fans. For example, we have more female supporters than before."

Asked whether he views the rules overhaul a success, he replies: "Basically, I'm very happy. The cars can follow each other more closely and overtake better as a result.

"Side-by-side driving has also become easier," he adds. "Before, not many people know, but a car lost performance there as well.

"Pirelli have also contributed to the improvement," he continues. "So everything has worked well before.

"The fact some teams were able to implement the new rules better and the others are upset about it is Formula 1 folklore and was planned beforehand. It has hit Mercedes in particular. But they are not idiots, they will get it right."

While Brawn may well be "happy" many are not. Yes, the car can follow more closely, but the difficulty in overtaking remains, and as a result we have DRS trains that leave Hamilton suggesting he will take his iPad with him so he can watch Game of Thrones during the race.

As a result, not only are we left relying on gimmicks such as DRS there is talk of the rules being changes in order that it is available right from the start of the race and at re-starts.

Had the new rules been a success we would have been looking to scrap gimmicks like DRS not making even more use of them.

In 2019, Brawn told members of the media that a Saudi Grand Prix would not be happening, citing the "human rights aspects and other conflicts that happened last year".

While Brawn may no longer be able to crusade for reverse grids and the like, he can take comfort from the fact that Stefano Domenicali has taken up the cause.

On an on and on it goes, this determination to 'spice up' the show, insisting that there must be action - no matter how manufactured - throughout.

Ironically, it was following Bianchi's crash at Suzuka in 2014 that the Virtual Safety Car was introduced to the sport, now, in yet another bid to add some spice, the powers-that-be are looking to reduce the number of VSCs and instead rely on the safety car proper.

Of course, this would mean conveniently bunching up the field, thereby increasing the possibility of a fight to the finish a la Abu Dhabi, as opposed to having the field continue as is.

Sorry Ross, but F1 is gradually turning into one of those manic Japanese TV shows we used to laugh at in the '80s. Sadly few of us are laughing any more... except Liberty, who are doing it all the way to the bank... with your help.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Defiant, 02/10/2022 17:06

"Well most posts here have written most of what I would’ve so my short comment is “see ya, don’t let the door hit you on the **** on the way out”

I won’t miss the person he seems to have become in his current role."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Spindoctor, 30/09/2022 6:36

"@Max Noble's take sums it up. I have no insight into Brawn's interests or motivations, but his contribution to Formula One 2.x has not proven very successful I am consequently pleased to see him go.
The adage "Be careful what you wish for" springs unbidden: I wasn't a big fan of the Max 'n Bernie show but it now seems a golden age of Sporting sanity...."

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3. Posted by Great_white_shark, 30/09/2022 4:39

"I should have re-read what I said before I posted it. I am seeing a couple of errors here and there. Oh well, you get the gist of it "

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4. Posted by Great_white_shark, 30/09/2022 4:38

"He did remarkable things and I admire him for that but I am not a fan of him personally. He is very intelligent and he is aware of it. He likes to make sarcastic comments and make them feel dumb when there is no need for it. On one hand you could argue that he saved a lot of jobs by buying the team from Honda and selling it to Mercedes but what people don't know is at the beginning of the season when he won the title, he promised people a bonus if they won. I don't think he genuinely believed he would win because after Brawn won, he sent out an email to say the original email did not constitute a proper contract and nobody would get paid anything.

Mixed feelings about the guy "

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5. Posted by TokyoAussie, 30/09/2022 3:19

"Gardening leave?"

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6. Posted by matra123, 29/09/2022 14:36

"Let's hope that this weekend's race in Singapore, when it will supposedly rain, will not be another Safety Car debacle. (Actually, these are the type of races where Herta would shine as Indy Car racing features not much apart from safety car phases...). "

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7. Posted by Max Noble, 29/09/2022 13:17

"The Rolling Stones can still live off their moments of greatness years after being at the top of their game. They have not been on “the cutting edge” of rock and roll for a few days now… Ross is the same. Moments of genius… in the distant past. Unlike The Rolling Stones, he cannot endlessly riff off his greatest hits for continued success.
I’ll not be buying the “best of album”… Past sell-by date…"

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8. Posted by kenji, 29/09/2022 0:29

"I recall reading some comments a long time ago that indicated that Brawn may be a diabetic and if so then maintaining a healthy lifestyle while remaining in the F1 travelling menagerie could prove to be problematic in the long run. Maybe this and other problems are the reason for his departure. Brawn is uber wealthy so it's time to kick back and enjoy the fruit on the top of the sideboard."

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9. Posted by francisn, 28/09/2022 22:04

"Ross was great in his day and I still have great admiration for him. But I think he has lost the plot and sadly Domenicali, for whom I also had a lot of admiration and great affection, is going the same way."

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10. Posted by Greg, 28/09/2022 14:46

"Anything you spice it up. The thrill of the race for me is starting to decline. To many fake things being done to make the sport more entertaining and not worthy of the pinnacle of motor sport."

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11. Posted by Editor, 28/09/2022 14:39

"@ All

By the way, what we say about DRS being used from the start of the race and from the re-starts is being seriously discussed, as is less use of the VSC and more reliance on the safety car... for restarts.

Also being discussed, though we're not sure how it would work, is a second qualifying session over Sprint weekends."

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12. Posted by Tardis40, 28/09/2022 13:33

"Hallelujah"

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13. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 28/09/2022 13:06

"Ross Brawn is one of the best in the business."

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14. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 28/09/2022 11:26

"The final paragraph says it all."

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15. Posted by KKK, 28/09/2022 11:25

"Sad ending to a brilliant career. Ross has now realised that F1 is not as it was, Its not where F1 should be. Good luck mate, from someone who met and spoke to you in Reading's John Lewis years ago. You showed me and spoke of your complete love for the sport. Have a great retirement. R"

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