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Brawn: Delighted with where Formula 1 is today

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For the second time in his illustrious Formula 1 career, Ross Brawn has gone fishing but says his phone remains on all the time should he be needed while delighted to ‘depart’ with the sport in such a healthy state.

At the end of 2022, F1 veteran Brawn stepped down from his role of Motorsport Manager, with FOM, ending a spell at the helm of the sport that began in 2017, alongside CEO Chase Carey at first and more recently Stefano Domenicali.

The return came after Brawn walked away from Mercedes at the end of the 2013 season – the former Honda team that had morphed into the return of the Silver Arrows from his own Brawn GP at the end of 2009 -when his role within the team became all but obsolete.

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“Gone fishing” was where he went until Liberty Media brought him onboard to steer F1 after the takeover from long-time ‘dictator’ Bernie Ecclestone; now several years later, with the sport booming on all fronts, Brawn will be seeking those rods and waders once again.

But, talking to Motorsport Network, Brawn insists that F1 chief Domenicali still has his number: “I’ll keep a little bit of interest. Stefano is a very good friend and, as I said to him, my phone is always switched on.

“So if there’s anything I can help with, and it doesn’t absorb too much of my time, I’d be only too pleased to be able to help. But it will be very much an advisory role, rather than an active role.”

Brawn whose success in F1 began when Michael Schumacher stepped into a Benneton all those years ago, winning titles there before moving to Ferrari, following Schumi again to engineer the Italian team’s greatest era.

Ross: We need to preserve and protect this F1 passion that’s grown

grandstands, gradins, spectators, fans during the Formula 1 Aramco United States Grand Prix 2021, 17th round of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship from October 21 to 24, 2021 on the Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas, United States of American - Photo Antonin Vincent / DPPI

A spell with Honda served him well, when the Japanese auto-giant departed the sport at the end of 2008, Brawn got to keep the team for a pittance, which became the all-conquering Brawn GP of 2009, and a year later Mercedes.

Despite his departure on an official capacity, Brawn remains in love with F1, “It’s a wonderful sport and it’s this amazing combination of technology and driving talent,” he said.

“You can have great drivers in rubbish cars and average drivers in brilliant cars, and sometimes brilliant drivers in brilliant cars. And the fact it changes so much during the season.

“If you look at most sports, if you look at athletics or tennis – someone tends to be at the top of the tree and, unless they have an off day, it’s very difficult for anyone to beat them.

“This sport, you might be winning – and I know we’ve had periods of domination – then someone comes up and makes a lot of progress with the car and suddenly you’re not winning. We have that dynamic going on all the time. And different tracks.

“So, I think it’s a unique sport and I’m just so pleased to see the passion that’s grown after, quite honestly, the sport was in the doldrums for a few years.”

As for the incredible growth in the fanbase, particularly in North America, Brawn said “We need to preserve this and protect this passion that’s grown. But I’m sailing off into the sunset and I’m really pleased – delighted – with where Formula 1 is today. I think we mustn’t forget what we’ve done to get there and make sure we keep progressing.”