Brawn, who has worked as the team principal at the German team since its return to the sport in 2010, has found himself enjoying an increasingly narrow span of control thanks to the arrival of many high-powered figures such as Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe. Having been quoted ahead of Lowe’s arrival that he would not wish to stay at the team should the former McLaren technical director arrive at Brackley, the Englishman’s induction into the team at the British Grand Prix appeared to signal the beginning of the end for Brawn.
Speaking to the BBC back in February, Brawn made his feelings about the possibility of Lowe arriving clear.
“Paddy is not coming,” he explained. “I want to see how things go before I make a final long-term commitment. If I choose to leave the team then Paddy will come. We’ve got a plan. We have a fall back plan. It’s as simple as that.”
However, following Lowe’s arrival, Brawn did not speak out against Mercedes and suggested that he wanted to find a way to stay at the team, with Niki Lauda also hoping that he would remain with the Silver Arrows. However, it appears that a deal has not been brokered, meaning that Brawn will depart the team, bringing to an end his five-year association with the Brackley-based team. He joined Honda back in 2008 before buying the remnants of the team when the Japanese manufacturer withdrew from the sport ahead of the 2009 season. What followed was one of the greatest fairytales in the history of the sport as Brawn GP went from backmarkers to world champions, with Jenson Button winning the drivers’ title and Rubens Barrichello finishing third in the championship.
So what next for Ross Brawn? At the end of the 2006 season, he left Ferrari after masterminding the Italian marque’s dominance of the sport in the early 2000s and enjoyed a sabbatical, and taking another year or two out could be an option. However, this could turn out to be permanent should the fifty-eight-year-old decide to retire.
Should he wish to remain in the sport, Williams could prove to be an outlet for him as the Oxfordshire-based team looks to bounce back in 2014 after one of the worst seasons in the team’s history, and the signing of Pat Symonds earlier this year was a signal of intent. Should he wish to link back up with Honda, the Japanese giant’s return to F1 in 2015 as McLaren’s engine supplier could give him a way in to the team, although previous disputes with the engine supplier could make this less feasible.
Nevertheless, all eyes are on one of the greatest technical and strategic minds in the history of the sport to see what his next move will be.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.