Image: The Savannah Bananas
Former Ferrari and Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has returned to Formula One as Managing Director following Chase Carey’s promotion to CEO following the dismissal of Bernie Ecclestone.
One of the most highly regarded names on the F1 paddock, Brawn in various capacities between 1978 and 2013, oversaw a combined 19 world championships. As an aerodynamicist for Williams, he won two constructors championships and two drivers titles too (Alan Jones in 1980 and Keke Rosberg in 1982). After stints with Haas Lola and with Jaguars sports car team (winning the 1991 World Sportscar Championship), he joined Bennetton in late 1991 as Technical Director.
With Benetton he oversaw Michael Schumacher’s two world championships in 1994 and 1995 before winning another five with the German legend after joining Ferrari as techincal director in 1997. He had the reigns at Honda during the 2008 campaign and the teams withdrawal led to the formation of his own team; Brawn GP.
In one of the most romantic stories in F1 history, a plain white Brawn GP with no sponsors, too small for the Mercedes power-plant and hastily developed, went onto win the constructors and drivers championships in the 2009 campaign with Jenson Button topping the tree.
Brawn was bought out by Mercedes who are of course the dominant team in the new era of Formula One cars. Brawn served as Mercedes’ technical director from 2010 until his retirement from Formula One in 2013. However, after a four year sabbatical, Brawn is back in Formula One in an advisory capacity.
“It’s fantastic to be returning to the world of Formula 1,” said Brawn. “I’ve enjoyed consulting with Liberty Media these last few months and I’m looking forward to working with Chase [Carey], Sean [Bratches] and the rest of the Formula 1 team to help the evolution of the sport.
The announcement of Ross Brawn’s return comes almost immediately after Bernie Ecclestone announced he was no longer the CEO of the sport. Formula One’s newest CEO Chase Carey said of Brawn “I am delighted to welcome Ross back to Formula 1. In his 40 years in the sport, he’s brought his magic touch to every team with which he has worked, has almost unparalleled technical knowledge, experience and relationships, and I have already benefited greatly from his advice and expertise.”
The announcement also revealed former ESPN executive vice-president Sean Bratches will be F1’s new managing director. “[Bratches] expertise and experience in sales, marketing, digital media, and distribution will be invaluable as we grow Formula 1,” according to Carey.