Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn announced today that he will be leaving the team at the end of 2013. He will be replaced by Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe. This news did not come as a surprise to a lot of people as there was a lot of speculation about his future from the time the team hired former Mclaren Technical Director Paddy Lowe.
Although Brawn couldn’t deliver on his promise to take Mercedes to the Drivers and Constructors championship inside the targeted three years, he made sure the team invested in both quality infrastructure and personnel so that the team has a strong base.
Some of the changes included upgrading the Wind tunnel from 50 to 60 percent, hiring key personnel from other teams such as Paddy Lowe, Toto Wolff among others.
Although he was highly criticized by the media for hiring so many people, the results spoke for themselves when Mercedes AMG F1 team finished second in the constructors championship, behind only the all conquering Red Bull’s.
Another interesting thing which many people noticed was that they finally got on top of their tire problems, a problem which had been plaguing the team since it’s inception as well as they were upgrading their car till late in the season.
This was possible because of the proven layered structure which was one of the key qualities of the teams in with whom Ross Brawn had won in the past.
Every F1 fan remembers the wonderful team they had during their glory years from 2000-2004. Also it was rumored that when he took charge of Honda, he had two engineering teams working simultaneously.
One of the teams worked on the current years car while the other team worked on next year’s car. From the hiring of so many experience technical people, it seems that he has implemented a similar sort of structure at Mercedes.
The whole team came forward to thank Ross Brawn who will step down from his post on December 31st, 2013.Both Nico and Hamilton paid rich tributes to Brawn.
Hamilton posted the following on Twitter “Massive thanks to Ross Brawn. He’s been a great leader and teacher for me. Ross has built the foundations for us to succeed in 2014! #Legend .” While Nico posted the following “Was a great experience to work with Ross. he is a great leader & we shared special times like my first win and monaco win.”
Non Executive Chairman of the Mercedes Board, Niki Lauda praised Brawn for his contributions to the team. He said “First of all and most importantly, we must say thank you to Ross, When you consider the step that has been made from finishing fifth in 2012 to the second place that we have secured this season, he has been the architect of this success. He put the plans in place to recruit key people since early 2011, and the performance this season shows that the team is on the right track.”
He also endorsed Toto and Wolff as Mercedes’ new leaders, saying “Toto and Paddy are the right people to lead our team in 2014 and beyond.”
Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler also thanked Ross for his contributions to the team saying “I would like to personally thank Ross for the calm authority with which he has led our works team since 2010, for his crucial contribution to our team’s development and also for the undoubted share he will have in our future success. It has been a pleasure working with him over the past four years and I extend all my very best wishes to him for the future.”
Brawn said that the new rules were a perfect timing for a leadership change which would ensure the future sucess of the team. He also added that he was proud to have been involved with the team and wished it luck in the future.
There is much speculation about what Brawn would do now. He was seen having a long chat with Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali during the Brazilian GP weekend. Stefano has also admitted that Ferrari who have struggled to win the world championship since Kimi Raikonnen won the title in 2008, would be happy to take Brawn back.
Honda, who are returning to F1 with Mclaren is being touted as another hot destination for Brawn. Brawn has had long ties with Honda. When Honda withdrew from the sport in 2009, Ross purchased the team and named it as Brawn GP and with it won the Drivers as well as the constructors championship.
Lastly Williams is being whispered as a shock destination. Williams has slowly faded away from the spotlight with weak leadership and infighting. The strong and calm leadership of Brawn would be a welcome addition to the William team. He could also serve as a mentor to Claire Williams who is slowly moving into the role of Team Principal.
But it remains to be seem what Ross Brawn does. He has a habit of pulling out surprises when we least expect it and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him purchase a team or move out of the sport altogether for a couple of years.Published 28 Nov 2013, 20:30 IST