Mercedes confirm Ross Brawn will leave team

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Mercedes have officially announced team principal Ross Brawn will leave the team at the end of the year.

The leadership of the team from next year will be shared between executive director (business) Toto Wolff and executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe.

“The most important consideration in my decision to step down from the role as team principal was to ensure that the timing was right for the team in order to ensure its future success,” said Brawn.

“The succession planning process 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.

“Mercedes-Benz has invested significantly in both the personnel and infrastructure at Brackley and Brixworth. Thanks to the one-team approach we have implemented between the two facilities, the team is uniquely positioned to succeed in 2014 and I am proud to have helped lay the foundations for that success.

“However, 2014 will mark the beginning of a new era in the sport. We therefore felt this was the right time to simultaneously begin a new era of team management to ensure that the organisation is in the strongest possible competitive position for the years to come.”

Non-executive chairman Niki Lauda offered his thanks to Brawn: “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.”

“Succession plan”

Brawn’s position as team principal has been a source of speculation throughout the season following the recruitment of Wolff from Williams and Lowe from McLaren.

“We have had long discussions with Ross about how he could continue with the team but it is a basic fact that you cannot hold somebody back when they have chosen to move on,” said Lauda. “Ross has decided that this is the right time to hand over the reins to Toto and Paddy and we respect his decision.”

Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche said Brawn’s departure was part of an organised succession plan. “Last winter we restructured the management of our Formula One activities, with the support of Niki Lauda,” he explained.

“The first step was to convince Toto Wolff to join us to run our Mercedes-Benz motorsport activities and our Formula One company. The second step was the recruitment of Paddy Lowe during 2013.

“This gave us a clear succession plan for the time when Ross decided to step down from his current role, and that time has now come. I have every confidence that Toto and Paddy will build on Ross’ good work and that they possess exactly the balance of skills required to lead our team to world championship success.

“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.”

Nico Rosberg responded to the news on Twitter, saying 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.”

Brawn joined the team in 2007, when it was owned by Honda. The Japanese manufacturer withdrew from Formula One at the end of 2008 and Brawn, together with Nick Fry, led a management buyout which saw the team continue to compete as Brawn GP.

The team won the constructors’ championship using Mercedes engines in 2009 and Jenson Button claimed the drivers’ title with the team. At the end of the year Mercedes took control of the team and rebranded it.

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Image ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei

91 comments on “Mercedes confirm Ross Brawn will leave team”

  1. McLaren-Brawn-Honda 2015 :) ?

    1. Steph (@stephanief1990)
      28th November 2013, 12:08

      Doubt it. Brawn wanted to be the sole head of house and Whitmarsh is going nowhere it seems. Ferrari would be the more obvious choice given that Stefano has already said he would step aside as team principal if it was required. Williams are another interested party but Brawn could always go and work with the FIA.

      1. Just like Apple sacked Jobs in the 80s , Mercedes does the same to Ross

        Who knows big Luca can chop Stefano and bring in Brawn or Ron will give a golden hand shake to Whitmarsh to get Brawn in. both are proven failures.

        Strange but true Mercedes is the only team with which Brawn has not won a championship .

        Brawn is too good to be staying out of F1.

  2. Letting Brawn go, or should I say, failing to retain Brawn, is a massive mistake by Mercedes. The man’s track record is unparalleled, he knows how to build successful F1 teams, there simply is no better person Mercedes could have employed to build them up. Mercedes loss is someone else’s gain.

    1. Unparalleled? I’m pretty sure he didn’t win the championships between 1996-1999 & 2005-2008 and, until this year, would you have genuinely said he had ‘succeeded’ at Mercedes?

      Yes, he’s clearly one of the smartest, most technically apt members of the F1 paddock at the moment, but nobody is irreplaceable.

      1. @optimaximal Unparalleled in the modern era, I would say yes. Winning at least 1 of the two titles on offer in 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2009 is pretty impressive no? Until 2010 Adrian Newey hadn’t won a title since 1999, a longer dry spell than you indicated Newey had, did anyone question his genius? I don’t think so.

        1. “a longer dry spell than you indicated Brawn had”. I mentioned Newey as he is the only TD/TP who can challenge Brawn in the modern era.

    2. Good news for redbull! Newey is practically unchallenged now.
      Losing faith in Mercedes lately especially after Brawn’s departure.

      1. What even after they finished 2nd in Constructors and 4th in Drivers? They were also in the running for a short while.

      2. I don’t think they are exactly comparable. Ross is more of a manager/strategist now than a technical director (although he was also an engineer like Newey).

  3. Quote from Ross Brawn:

    “However, 2014 will mark the beginning of a new era in the sport. We therefore felt this was the right time to simultaneously begin a new era of team management to ensure that the organisation is in the strongest possible competitive position for the years to come.”

    Quote from Niki Lauda:

    Ross has decided that this is the right time to hand over the reins to Toto and Paddy and we respect his decision.”

    So.. did Ross Brawn leave because he felt it was the right time, or because the management felt it was the right time?

    1. The royal We

    2. 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. I guess Brawn has already made up his mind to quit but niki lauda persuaded him to stay till the end this season.Looks like merc think paddy is the better option than brawn and they let him go

    3. Would be funny if he addressed himself as We, but funnier if he talked in 3rd person and called himself “The Ross”

      Also, I got up way too early today x_x

      1. Oh man, I read BasCB’s comment below as “As I understand, it was The Ross who decided,” XD

    4. As I understand, it was Ross who decided, because he did not think it would work with him AND Loewe AND Toto there @andae23.

      Seems Lauda was fine with him leaving until more or less this summer when he saw Brawn in action for real when he defended Mercedes at the FIA hearing.

      1. @bascb Think so too. Still think it’s strange Ross Brawn would decide something as fundamental as that himself, but I guess that’s just simply how it went.

        1. Given that he sold them the company, its likely there were some clauses that both stated that he wouldn’t leave immediately (or only with mutual consent), its not too unusual to also give him the option to decide on staying on after that period @andea23

      2. The way I understood it (although I don’t know if I understood it right or not) is that Mercedes wanted Loewe and Toto to lead the team and to keep Ross in a different position and he didn’t accept that.

      3. As I understand, it was Ross who decided, because he did not think it would work with him AND Loewe AND Toto there

        @bascb @andae23 Yep. This Q&A with Ted Kravitz does a good job of summing things up, I think:

        http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/22058/9046480/ted-kravitz-qa-analysing-where-ross-brawns-exit-leaves-the-mercedes-team

  4. Good luck Russ BRawn…and Good Luck MercedesAMGPetronas!

    Has Lewis had a breakdown yet?

    1. obviously that should be “ross bRawn” lol…

  5. Whether or not he was pushed or decided to leave of his own accord, this is a big loss for Mercedes. It make take some time to realise what they’ve lost and Paddy Lowe has a lot to live up to.

    I just hope this isn’t a big loss for F1. Brawn is one of the most storied and successful individuals in the paddock. It would be a shame to lose a man such as him, especially with such an overhaul of the regulations in 2014. Here’s hoping that his health and passion for F1 remains strong and he’ll be back soon.

  6. Brawn, Byrne & Allison with Kimi & Fernando , the dream team of all time, come on Luca don’t waste this opportunity and sign Ross..
    I read one time in Autosprint that Ross is the engineer that has gained the most from F1 (in term of money) even more than Newey, the only teams on the grid that can afford signing him are in my opinion (Red Bull, Ferrari & McLaren),

    1. @tifoso1989 – If he worked for FIA I wonder if he would accept more than a token salary + expenses? Certainly they couldn’t afford to pay him the fair value for his time?…

      Maybe Ross is really just too old now and wants out of the Game? Isn’t his wife’s health in decline still?

    2. I second that it would be a dream team. But Stefano is like Massa at Ferrari. underperforming but loyal so just keep him as much as you can.

      1. You are mistaken, it was said numerous times, that LdM just can’t find a proper candidate for team principle post. Dominicalli actually extremely competent in his field, which are the logistics at Ferrari.

        LdM is just not brave enough to make a signing.

  7. Probably Honda.
    Hopefully Williams.

    1. +1
      My thoughts in 4 words.

  8. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    28th November 2013, 9:35

    If Williams (or Sauber) offer him a % ownership of the company, I’m willing to bet he’d gladly stroll down to one of the mid-field teams to challenge himself once more before calling it a day on F1.

    1. I think it Williams…he can sort out a share swap with Toto

  9. Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche said Brawn’s departure was part of an organised succession plan. “Last winter we restructured the management of our Formula One activities, with the support of Niki Lauda,” he explained.

    So, the whole thing was planned ever since Niki Lauda joined Mercedes. Fair to say that he is the main reason for Brawn’s ouster.

    Not good for Mercedes. He is without doubt one of the best team principals around. Just look at Malaysian GP 2013. He was able to rein in his driver with way more authority than Christian Horner could do at Red Bull.

    I hope he moves to Ferrari again. Not to stay Stefano is not doing a good job. Ferrari and Alonso are the only team to have tried to stop the Red Bull juggernaut. But they will need someone stronger to handle Kimi and Alonso.

    1. Ferrari and Alonso are the only team to have tried to stop the Red Bull juggernaut.

      Really? I’m pretty sure Mercedes and Lotus have had a much better stab at it this year than Ferrari on the whole.

      1. And I’m pretty sure Button got closer to Vettel in 2011 than Alonso did this year.

    2. @sumedh what makes you think that Stefano is doing a good job at Ferari ?

      Both Stefano And Whitmarsh are proven failures unable to with championships with best team and drivers around.

      1. @tmax – Both Stefano And Whitmarsh are proven failures

        Hate to say it but I agree w/ you, at least in terms of performance-assessment. They should do the honorable thing and fall on their swords, though in the Italian’s case it sounds at least like he’s willing to do so the moment the Scuderia has a new candidate ready to succeed him.

    3. horner doesn’t have any authority art RBR , he does what marko tells him …and marko has to defer to newey which is why webber stayed so long despite marko’s wishes

  10. “Composed of Toto and Paddy”: Sound like a beginning of a joke…

    1. @jeff1s : Where did u pull that out from +1000

    2. Ha ha my stomach hurts from laughing .

    3. Lol Lol Lol ROFL

  11. Brawn has left . Mercedes will still be the same – Not . If Brawn goes to another team , then I guess Mercedes would have made a huge mistake .
    If he goes to Ferrari – then they have the best lineup .
    If he goes to Mclaren -they can make a good impact in 2015.
    If he goes fishing – I’m the happiest .

    1. @jeff1s Will Hamil follow him?

      1. Mercedes only made a mistake if they failed to retain him, and it doesn’t sound like this is the case. It sounds like he wanted to go. Nothing Mercdes could do if that is the case and they are lucky he helped them with a smooth transition.

        Will LH follow? Why would he? And to where? Someplace where a seat has magically opened up that is going to be better for LH than a constructor based team such as he’s on now? Don’t think so.

      2. Frankly after LH’s head being found in all kinds of strange places this year, I’m not at all sure Ross would want him to follow anywhere.

        1. ouch.

          so send Lewis the name of a good (sportS) psychologist then…

  12. I personally think the pair of Hamilton and Lowe could work brilliantly on upcoming years.
    The duo has shown they can build the car and challenge the Bulls, though may not have been consisdently, in past years.
    I think Lowe decided to take the love call from Mercedes because he has an ambition to lead the team, for the first time. Although Lowe’s leadership skill is still remains to be discovered, together with his expertise, ambition, and Hamiltion’s talent, the Brackley team could become a new winning combination.

    1. I agree. 2012 was a good year but McLaren as a team messed up a few times, if they can iron out…happy days!

    2. Sang Su Yu – what garbage is this? Drivers have NoThinG to do with building cars – nothing. They may be asked for their input but that is all. If you let a driver “build” a car it would be a disaster! On second thoughts, maybe that’s exactly what happened @ McLaren in 2012 with Paddy Boy and Blingmaster Ham………

  13. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    28th November 2013, 10:32

    So Mercedes will have two leaders?

    “Look, it doesn’t take a genius to know that any organisation thrives when it has two leaders. Go ahead, name a country that doesn’t have two presidents. A boat that sets sail without two captains. Where would Catholicism be, without the Popes?” – Oscar Martinez.

    Felt relevant. lol.

    1. Although I love ‘The Office’, I think the consensus of 2 leaders wouldn’t be bad for some countries, boats or even the catholic church. When their is a crisis you need strong leadership, but for running a formula 1 team, I feel 2 leaders (Toto: day to day, bussiness-related and Paddy: Technical side, mechanical boss) is not a bad call.
      Reminds me of RBR with Horner and Newey.

  14. Mercedes are making the same mistake Toyota and Honda made: treating an f1 team like a business. While an f1 team can certainly make a successful business, no successful team is run like one. It clearly takes a different set of skills to inspire and lead a team in sports, and while the business and sponsorship angle needs business people, a team working 24/7, all year round on the basis of seeking glory is a village, not an enterprise.

    Furthermore, they’re getting rid of one of the greatest leaders in the sport on the advice of Lauda, who wasn’t able to lead a team himself. Classic myopic “pay a consultant” corporate thinking. Mercedes will feel the loss here.

    1. Classic myopic “pay a consultant” corporate thinking. Mercedes will feel the loss here.

      Great comment and this quote encapsulates the issue so eloquently. Couldn’t have said it better if i tried; and it certainly mirrors my experience of working with large corporations.

    2. Add Monisha to that list. Thank you for typing this out.

  15. Where will Toto stop? 2 years ago I didn’t know who the man was, and now he’s made his way to principal of a front running team! Where will he be in two years? Maybe he’s going to be a big friend of Bernie who couldn’t befriend Christian Horner…

    1. Actually, Toto has a pretty healthy relationship with Bernie, so…

  16. I don’t think Mercedes are making a mistake, i think Brawn was given the resources to win a championship, he was the only boss at Mercedes, but i guess the guys at the headquarters feel there’s need for a change to be made and take different approach because the previous one didn’t quite worked out well.

    1. Well said.
      Love Brawn but after how many more losses should Merc have tried a different formula?

  17. Will the prancing horse pounce, would Williams win his services or as an outside guess Honda?

    1. I don’t know. Since this news isn’t actually a big surprise, and the teams would know more than us as time went along and they witnessed the recruitment of Toto and Paddy, you’d think if Brawn was simply switching teams there’d at least be strong rumors of where, if not an announcement in conjunction with his leaving Merc.

      1. As some one said , Only three teams have the nerve to pull Brawn into their team with so much secrecy . RBR , Ferrari , Mclaren .
        Even with James allison , there were rumours . It can’t be RBR 90% as they have a winning team. Now , nothing of even a scent of rumour . I don’t know where he is going . Looks more and more likely it is Mclaren – Honda .
        Perhaps he got into a discussion with Mclaren and wanted a team with manufacturer backing and hence they lured Honda . Time will tell.

  18. Ross Brawn may be following a different script than the one everyone seems to assume.
    What if he’s just going to retire?
    What if he’s spotted that Bernie Ecclestone is on his way out and fancies the job?
    Or Jean Todt’s job, president of the FIA?
    Or going to Marussia just for the challenge?

    1. Possible retirement. He was 59 last Saturday, so maybe the continual round of airport lounge/anonymous hotel just got too boring.
      I think he’d be great as the chap at the FIA who has to think of (and block) possible loopholes in their regulations.

      1. @timothykatz Hasn’t his wife had ongoing health problems? Occam’s Razor… the lex parsimoniae (translating to the law of parsimony, law of economy or law of succinctness): “the simplest explanation is usually the correct one”. — so maybe he really is just going fishing and spend time w/ family?

  19. Lets not forget RB was on the acquired side of the businesses, I have no idea of the detail of the buy out but I would imagine he was on a retainer or part of an earn out clause. Mercedes would be crazy otherwise. I would imagine the earn out finished when Nick Fry left so in many ways I’m amazed Ross hung around as long as he did.

    I can almost guarantee he’s taking a paid year off, a team principle is normally central to the organisation and there is no way Mercedes will allow inside information about next years challenger to rock up into another garage. I guess there is a slim chance he might end up at a Mercedes powered team, time to dust off the fishing rod Ross!

    As for the Honda rumours, didn’t he complain about having to report to the Japanese hierarchy in the old Honda days?

    1. @b3ndy – I can almost guarantee he’s taking a paid year off, a team principle is normally central to the organisation and there is no way Mercedes will allow inside information about next years challenger to rock up into another garage.

      If Ross is as cagey, wiley, cunning and effective as folks like to say he is, then he will have ensured in his contract that no gardening leave was required, especially at his advanced age.

  20. i only really cared for mercedes because ross was there. with that moron essentially in charge (wolff), i no longer care for the team itself. hopefully ross goes to williams.

  21. Brawn and Byrne at Ferrari again would be nice but borderline impossible

    1. Why? What would bringing these guys “back together” help? I guess you are one of the numerous people who love the umpteenth remake of batman, superman, etc instead of seeing something new?

      I would be far more excited to see some new people come up with the Newey beating combinations to look forward to an exciting future @anele-mbethe

      1. @bascb So you are basically saying that to beat Newey you need somebody newi ‘sh’ ;-)

        1. @hamilfan lol someones on top of their game

        2. At first I thought “am I?” then I got the joke. Nice one @hamilfan

      2. @bascb I guess it’s a bit of nostalgia and no I don’t like any dodgy superman/batman remakes :-)

        in saying that I’m fully behind Allison and domenicali.

        I full agree with you on the new engineers coming in and making there mark, I wonder who the next dominant designer will be.

        1. Great @anele-mbethe! I have been thinking about Allison but also see a guy like James Key as one of the guys we should be hearing more from in the coming years. I defenitely hope there are others we have (so far) not heard of though :-)

          1. @bascb interesting times ahead indeed , if James key was the main force behind the C31 last year he just may be the man. and I hope they actually beat Newey rather than take over once he calls it a day which is yhe likely scenario with Key since he joined Toro rosso

  22. will be interesting to see if Mercedes will be better without brawn. since 2009, the brawn team and then merc have gone backwards as the season went along, while redbull make great progress as the year goes on, will this finally change with Brawn gone? in 09, brawn got heralded for a car that was built by Honda. in Ferrari days, his success was easy because of Ferrari money, and unlimited testing. I don’t dislike brawn, but am putting up an argument that maybe he is not as great as his success shows. lets see if he can transform Williams next year, he didn’t transform Mercedes, only when Toto Wolff came in did they finish 2nd in the championship.

    1. What? Brawn joined Honda in 2007 and he pretty much single handedly saved that team if you remember 2009.

      In Ferrari days his success was easy because of Ferrari money and unlimited testing? If that’s the case why wasn’t Ferrari winning before Brawn, Byrne, Schumacher and a few others came along?

      So Toto Wolff transformed Mercedes? Okay.

  23. okay how about considering this plot twist . I know this is highly unlikely , but
    Christian horner to fill in for Bernie
    Brawn to fill in for Christian Horner
    :O sounds like a checkmate move in chess ;-) .
    But yeah I think christian will stay put at RBR and Ross will go to Honda.

  24. @bascb interesting times ahead indeed , if James key was the main force behind the C31 last year he just may be the man. and I hope they actually beat Newey rather than take over once he calls it a day which is yhe likely scenario with Key since he joined Toro rosso

  25. I think Brawn fill find some sponsors buy the now defunct HRT team, come up with some new idea and make it a midfield team. He could use Honda engines.
    Or be offered a role at Mclaren, they basically threw away the 2012 championship and Whitmarsh needs to go

  26. I, like many, wouldn’t be suprised if he joined Ferrari. But then again .. both his and his wife health have apparantly not been great, so I wonder if he would really move to Italy for another period of F1 in his life. It would make more sense so join a british team. Or indeed, take a couple of months, or a year off, and then see whats what. Another outside option would be to replace Bernie. But that probably won’t happen as long as Bernie stays out of prison.

  27. The FIA should get Brawn in to work on the regs. They usually come up with a set of regs in order to stop certain things from being done and within seconds, a solution to bypass what the regs are designed to do is found. Usually by Brawn.

  28. Brawn>Ron Dennis>Whitmarsh.
    McLaren needs one from the first two.

  29. Bad news for fish.
    But I expect he’ll be back in racing before too long, and we’ll know more by the end of next season.
    Nobody’s mentioned Force India yet.

  30. If I were Ross, and if the health issues are real and not rumour, I would sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labour. He’s given his life to F1, produced results most people can only dream of, and will go down as one of the legendary figures in F1. Given that it’s probably still his passion, a consultant role with any team would probably be the best way to keep some involvement in F1, without the commitments required of a team principal.

    I find it hard to believe he’ll join another team immediately, I think he’ll probably take some time off and decide on a return (if at all) during that time.

  31. I sincerely hope Brawn lands at Ferrari. F1 needs someone to dethrone Red Bull and Seb before the boredom spreads. I can never forgive SV for his “Mark didn’t deserve to win…” remark. The bad taste lingers.

  32. I’#d like to see Byrne out of retirement with Brawn at Williams to bring them back to the front runners!

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