At the end of last season Ross Brawn made it quite clear he wanted take time off after he departed the position of team principal at Mercedes, but that was before latest developments at McLaren where Ron Dennis engineered an internal coup at Woking.
Dennis took over as CEO again, marginalising Martin Whitmarsh in the process, and announced to staff that he was returning the Woking outfit back to their winning ways on all fronts, which prompted a standing ovation from all present.
In December Dennis told the BBC that he had spoken to Brawn during a shooting function, “We were having a chat and we’re mature motor racing people so of course you’re going to talk about life. But going beyond that, as you would expect, it’s normal stuff. People probe around, the possible, the impossible.”
At the time Brawn refused to comment on the subject, “It wouldn’t be fair or appropriate to say if any parties have invited me for discussions. I am starting my fishing trips early next year and only time will tell if Formula 1 and [I] ever get together again.”
With Honda power in the pipeline for McLaren starting in 2015, and 2014 very much an interim year for the squad who will be paying for their Mercedes turbo engines, Brawn could well be the man to lead the F1 operation into the team’s second era with the Japanese car giant.
It is more than likely that the latest developments will have piqued Brawn’s interest, as it would reunite him with Honda and Jenson Button who won the 2009 F1 world championship from Brawn GP. Notably he would still be able to go fishing and return in the early summer to head up the team.
Although Dennis has yet to confirm who will run the team in 2014, it appears unlikely that Martin Whitmarsh – whose future with the organisation is uncertain – will be given the role in the wake of the team’s worst season in memory, where they did not score a single podium, coupled to the fact that the team’s 2014 car is unlikely to be ready for the seasoning opening Jerez test which starts on 28 January.
If the internal coup is about leadership, or lack thereof in this case, then it is just a matter of time that Whitmarsh will be shown the door and according to insiders he is not the only one facing the axe. (GP247)