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

  1. Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 28th November 2013, 11:27

    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.

  2. Renegade.Ego (@renegade-ego) said on 28th November 2013, 11:36

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

    • Robbie said on 28th November 2013, 12:45

      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.

      • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 28th November 2013, 15:13

        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.

  3. TribalTalker (@tribaltalker) said on 28th November 2013, 11:45

    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?

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 28th November 2013, 14:03

      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.

      • @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?

  4. Ben (@b3ndy) said on 28th November 2013, 11:51

    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?

    • @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.

  5. LucaBadoerFan (@lucabadoerfan) said on 28th November 2013, 13:16

    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.

  6. Anele (@anele-mbethe) said on 28th November 2013, 13:40

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

  7. kpcart said on 28th November 2013, 14:51

    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.

    • 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.

  8. Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 28th November 2013, 15:05

    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.

  9. Anele (@anele-mbethe) said on 28th November 2013, 16:03

    @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

  10. 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

  11. ME4ME (@me4me) said on 28th November 2013, 16:50

    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.

  12. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 28th November 2013, 17:01

    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.

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

  14. Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 28th November 2013, 18:55

    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.

  15. Steven (@steevkay) said on 28th November 2013, 18:55

    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.

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