Mercedes confirm Ross Brawn will leave team

2013 F1 season

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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91 comments on Mercedes confirm Ross Brawn will leave team

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  1. Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 28th November 2013, 9:04

    McLaren-Brawn-Honda 2015 :) ?

    • Steph (@stephanief1990) said on 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.

      • 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. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 28th November 2013, 9:13

    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.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 28th November 2013, 10:11

      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.

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 28th November 2013, 10:21

        @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.

    • Knoxville said on 28th November 2013, 11:12

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

  3. andae23 (@andae23) said on 28th November 2013, 9:15

    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?

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

    Has Lewis had a breakdown yet?

  5. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 28th November 2013, 9:31

    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. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 28th November 2013, 9:33

    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),

    • @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?

    • 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.

      • Kimi4WDC said on 29th November 2013, 0:24

        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. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 28th November 2013, 9:34

    Probably Honda.
    Hopefully Williams.

  8. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 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.

  9. Sumedh said on 28th November 2013, 9:41

    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.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 28th November 2013, 10:17

      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.

    • @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.

      • @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.

    • audifan said on 28th November 2013, 15:06

      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…

  11. Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 28th November 2013, 10:13

    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 .

    • @jeff1s Will Hamil follow him?

      • Robbie said on 28th November 2013, 12:41

        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.

      • Baron (@baron) said on 28th November 2013, 19:46

        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.

  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.

    • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 28th November 2013, 15:51

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

    • Baron (@baron) said on 28th November 2013, 19:53

      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) said on 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.

    • 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. Hairs (@hairs) said on 28th November 2013, 11:01

    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.

    • kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 28th November 2013, 18:19

      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.

    • Kimi4WDC said on 29th November 2013, 0:32

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

  15. Dan_the_McLaren_fan (@dan_the_mclaren_fan) said on 28th November 2013, 11:05

    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…

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