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Is Ross Brawn the man to save Formula One?
Rumours circulate about Brawn's return to F1. Here's why he should
For a man partial to the singular pleasures of fly fishing, Ross Brawn suddenly finds himself firmly centre-stage once again. This is partly because he has a new book to promote, the catchily titled Total Competition: Lessons in Strategy from Formula One, but also because it seems the big man is set to return in a pivotal new role that will see him overseeing F1’s future sporting template and regulations. He would effectively report to the Formula One Group, in a role that would see him operate parallel to but not replacing the sport’s Grand Vizier, Bernie Ecclestone. At least, not for now.
While we wait for official confirmation, it’s impossible not to see this news as the first sign from F1’s new majority shareholder Liberty Media that a fundamental rethink of the sport’s entire MO and structure is long overdue, and that former Ferrari Technical Director, and Brawn and Mercedes F1 boss would be the man to do it. He’s hugely respected up and down the pit-lane, knows every trick in the book, and is one of the few figures in F1 who could successfully bang heads together when necessary – which would be approximately 75 per cent of the time.
It’s thought both Ferrari and McLaren have approached Brawn about returning to the frontline, but he’s always ruled this out, most recently in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. “I would never go back to a team. I did everything I can in a team, but I would be repeating myself.” As to a different, more strategic role at the heart of the sport, however, he offered this tantalising observation. “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.”
He’d get our vote.