Ross Brawn: Mercedes principal to leave at end of year

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
The incredible career of Ross Brawn

Ross Brawn is to leave Mercedes at the end of the year.

The 59-year-old team principal is standing down following changes to the management structure at Mercedes F1.

"The most important consideration in my decision to step down was to ensure the timing was right for the team in order to ensure its future success," he said.

Executive directors Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe will lead the team, whose drivers are 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton and German Nico Rosberg.

Brawn added: "The succession planning that we have implemented during this year means we are now ready to conduct the transition from my current responsibilities to a new leadership team composed of Toto and Paddy."

The Englishman said organisational changes meant the team was "uniquely positioned to succeed in 2014" and that he was "proud to have helped lay the foundations for that success".

Mercedes had asked Brawn to stay on but he made it clear last month that he would only do so if he remained in sole charge of the team.

The team have made it clear they feel a single team principal, with overall charge of all aspects of the F1 operation, is an outdated concept because of the sport's increasingly complex nature.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg tweeted:external-link "[It] was a great experience to work with Ross. He is a great leader and we shared special times like my first win and Monaco win.

"Our ambition is to be leading next year. Now on we go flat out with Paddy and Toto. Starting with seat fit and 2014 simulator tomorrow."

Lewis Hamilton added on Twitter:external-link "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.

"Toto and Paddy are fantastic guys and strong leaders for the team. I've started my training already and can't wait for 2014."

Brawn has yet to announce any future plans and insiders believe he will take a break while he considers his next move.

That is exactly the path he chose when he quit his long-time position as Ferrari technical director at the end of 2006.

In that role, he led the team to Michael Schumacher's five consecutive world titles from 2000-04 and six constructors' championships in a row from 1999.

He then took a six-month break before re-emerging as Honda's team principal ahead of the 2008 season.

Honda's decision to quit F1 at the end of 2008 led to Brawn buying the team and renaming it after himself.

They proceeded to win the 2009 drivers' title with Jenson Button, as well as the constructors' crown, before Mercedes took them over.

Brawn has been mentioned in connection with possible roles at governing body the FIA, whose president Jean Todt was team principal at Ferrari during Brawn's tenure, and with running Honda's F1 programme when the Japanese company returns to the sport as engine supplier to McLaren from 2015.

Claims of a possible move back to Ferrari as team principal are incorrect, according to senior insiders at the Italian team.

Although non-executive chairman Niki Lauda had tried to persuade Brawn to continue at Mercedes, the Englishman felt it would be better to leave.

Mercedes recruited Lowe, formerly McLaren's technical director, last winter and made it clear they saw him as Brawn's long-term successor.

Initially, the plan was to replace Brawn as soon as Lowe could join the team but Mercedes then changed their strategy and said they would prefer Brawn to stay on, without saying what role he would fulfil.

Brawn made his decision last month but Mercedes acceded to his wishes to delay an announcement until after the end of the season.

Lowe will run the sporting and technical needs of the team, while Wolff takes charge of business and political aspects.


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