Brawn: I am the Mercedes F1 team principal and I am in charge

Ross Brawn still the boss

Ross still the boss

Ross Brawn looks forward to a long-term future as the Mercedes Formula One team principal, however has he indicated that it would depend on his motivation and how recent managerial changes pan out, but he remains adamant that he is still the team boss.

Ross Brawn speaks with new recruit Lewis Hamilton

Ross Brawn speaks with new recruit Lewis Hamilton

“I know all the plans for the future of the team and I hope I’m going to be a part of them for a very long time. We are entering a really exciting period,” he told reporters as Britain’s 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton, joining from McLaren, toured the factory.

“I know the situation completely. Mercedes want a long term commitment. And obviously with a lot of additions, I want to see how things go before I make a final long term commitment,” added Brawn.

The burly Briton’s position at the Mercedes works team has been called into question, despite his reputation as the brains behind Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles with Benetton and Ferrari and his role in convincing Hamilton to join, after a managerial overhaul.

BBC pundit and former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan reported on Tuesday that McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe was set to follow Hamilton and effectively take over from Brawn in running the ‘Silver Arrows’.

Ross Brawn with former team members Michael Schumacher and Norbert Haug

Ross Brawn with former team members Michael Schumacher and Norbert Haug

Norbert Haug departed as Mercedes motorsport head at the end of last season, paying the price for disappointing results on the track, with Austrian Toto Wolff coming in as 30 percent shareholder and executive director. His compatriot Niki Lauda is also making his presence felt as non-executive chairman of the board.

Brawn gave a strong indication that Lowe was part of the team’s plans and compared his own situation to his later years at Ferrari, when the Italian team began preparing for a new generation to lead them on in the post-Schumacher era.

“It’s rather like my succession plan at Ferrari,” he said, playing down the notion that his role was under threat.

“When I decided I was going to stop at Ferrari, we built a succession plan and I am part of that. I’ve talked to Paddy, we know the situation. I’m planning on being here [for] a very long time,” he repeated.

Asked whether that was still as team principal, and whether Mercedes hoped for the same thing, he replied: “When I say ‘hope’ I mean that I continue to find the excitement and the motivation and the reasons to go racing, because racing gives me a buzz.

Mercedes F1 car exploded view

A virtual look at Mercedes’ F1 contender (not 2013 model)

“We have our difficult days but it’s a really exciting period, the car is coming together well, we have set some tough tasks over the winter, we are meeting them. A lot of things are behind us now.”

Brawn stressed that he was still the main man at a team that had been criticised even before recent events for having too many managers and a blurred chain of command.

“I am the team principal. I am in charge of sporting, technical and racing matters,” he said.

“Toto is coming and there is another side of the business that quite frankly I don’t want to get involved in – the commercial activities, the support we need to give Daimler (Mercedes’ parent) on a day-to-day basis and there’s a lot of things Toto will be doing which are complementary to what I will be doing.

“But you have to have one reference, everybody knows the only way a racing team will work is to have one reference, and I’m that reference.”

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari celebrates race victory and his record equalling fifth World Championship with Luca Di Montezemolo (ITA) Ferrari President, Ross Brawn (GBR) Ferrari Technical Director and the Ferrari team. French Grand Prix, Magny-Cours, France, 21 July 2002

Ross Brawn and Luca di Montezemelo in 2002

Brawn took a year’s sabbatical after Schumacher retired from Ferrari in 2006, spending his time fishing and travelling.

He returned as principal of the Honda team which he then bought and led to both titles in 2009 under his name as Brawn GP after the Japanese car maker pulled out.

The team was sold to Mercedes in 2009, making Brawn millions, but has failed to shine with Schumacher making a disappointing comeback before retiring again at the age of 43 after Hamilton was signed.

“I don’t feel the time is right for me to stop. I’m motivated, I’m excited by what we’re doing. I want to do it,” said Brawn.

“Failure is actually one of the greatest motivations. We’ve had some poor years and that has driven me even harder to make sure we do things right.” (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

  • McLarenfan

    I think the may be a little fed up of being beaten by a car using their power so now they have Lewis and by the sound of it they have Paddy Lowe packing his tooth brush and joining them.

  • Max Smoot

    This does not sound like a man looking at being shown the door.

  • The Fuzz

    As a top F1 engineer you get pretty handsomely paid. I just wonder at what stage you get so greedy that you’ll shaft those that have put you in that position and jump ship eh Paddy???
    Greed is such an unpleasant human characteristic.

  • McHare

    Not to worry…. James Allison will come in from Lotus if Paddy goes and he is an excellent engineer. Rumour has it Pat Fry may even come back!

  • The Fuzz

    #The Fuzz
    Where did you get the Pat Fry rumour from? Seen the James Allison stuff in Autosport.

  • McHare

    La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that he was finding it difficult to settle. May be looking for opportunities elsewhere apparently according to my Italian work colleague!

  • The Fuzz

    Mmmmm Not sure he’s good enough for McLaren. Didn’t exactly over perform a few years back. Prefer James Allison from Lotus if Paddy goes to Mercedes.

  • hawk

    @The Fuzz
    stop being simplistic. life cannot be looked at from such a narrow perspective. does it mean that if he is offered much more by Mercedes to jump ship it is simply greed if he does? did you want mercedes to offer him less or match what Mc is paying him? Do you want to say that Newey was greedy when he moved to RB or is it Jaguar? My friend like you referred to him as a top engineer, he relishes the challenge most more than the money. he would also love to be harped consistently about like Newey. and sure that will not be at Woking. free rein at Brackley not under the armpits of Whitmarsh or Ron. Note that Newey is also enjoying free rein. my friend this is a sport, Mc is not his family business. it is aptly named Mclaren not Lowe or Hamilton or even Dennis (I mean Ron can also sell). life is finite and one should explore all opportunities and/or challenges while they still can.. AND with a fat check to boot!

  • Haasman

    Ross Brawn is a clever man. He has a remarkable resources at his disposal. I expect a very competitive team from Mercedes this season.

  • Junior Johnson

    This is eksactly what he said when he was at Ferari and then kablam kablam faster than that he was fired by the ferari big boss.My brother even says that Mercedes doesnt need Brawn any more.He says he has a frend that knows a guy what works at Mercedes and he said that Brawn will be fired.Just look at the last few years what a bad bad car Brawn has built.If it wasnt for Rozburger who is so fast it would have looked much worst!Anyway can some one tell me that photo at the bottom it is photo shopped or overimposed it doesnt look real?

  • Junior Johnson

    I dont know Maclarenfan what use would Paddy have taking a toothbrush with him to Maclaren.I just dont get it but it did make me laugh!

  • F1clown

    That can’t be the W04. The tires look like they say Bridgestone and it looks like the Bridgestone logo on the nose. The front wing and endplates are pre 2009 spec.

  • JodyRenza

    I thought Daimler board said they would not put more money into the F1 team…how can they then afford Hamilton, Wolff, Lauda, Lowe ect??? Yes Mercedes did not perform over the last 3 years, but the same happened to Honda & when their car was finally ready they jumped ship & Brawn won!!
    F1 is such a delicate sport…the only thing you can say is that Adrian Newey will design winners!!
    As a F1 fan since 1967, I’m really looking forward to this season to see what Ferrari, Mclaren,Lotus & Mercedes will do to beat Red Bull-Newey!!

  • The Fuzz

    Sorry for being Simplistic mr Hawk. :-(

    Where I come from, engineers work for the love of engineering..