One of the storylines that has been bubbling along since last weekend’s Indian Grand Prix surrounds Ross Brawn’s ongoing future with the Mercedes AMG Petronas team, with reports suggesting that he will soon announce his departure from the team.
According to the latest reports from the BBC, Brawn will shortly announce he will quit his post as Team Principal at the end of the current season, leaving Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe, both Executive Directors, and Niki Lauda, a Non-Executive Chairman, to lead the outfit next year.
His anticipated departure follows months of internal discussions over his long-term role in the team, with Lowe’s appointment this year being confirmed as a “soft transition” succession plan to take over Brawn’s post when he chose to move aside.
However, Brawn has made it clear – as recently as the Japanese Grand Prix – that he won’t accept anything less than being retained as Team Principal, but it’s now believed that he has been unable (or unwilling) to agree to the team leadership’s recommendations that the management of its commercial and sporting operations be divided into two roles.
The legendary former technical director has been a fixture with the Brackley-based squad since its factory Honda days, leading a buyout of the team in 2009 when Honda pulled the pin on its Formula 1 programme.
That year, the team – known as Brawn GP – operated on a shoestring and won both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship titles before it was bought out by Mercedes at the end of the year. He was kept on as Team Principal.
The hot speculation suggests that Brawn will join forces with McLaren to help in its transition to Honda power when the two reunite in 2015. This is a logical suggestion given his past links with the Japanese carmaker, but no one – Mercedes, Brawn, McLaren or Honda – will confirm if this is the case.
In any case, it’s highly unlikely that we will see Brawn at the helm of Mercedes next season, and that an announcement confirming his departure will come in a matter of weeks.