McLaren announced this week that former lotus F1 boss Eric Boullier has named the new Racing Director for their Formula 1 team. This role is to report to the CEO of the racing division which is a new role that has yet to be filled.
Conventional speculation, so to speak, is that former Mercedes boss Ross Brawn might be up for the job but the world championship-winning team owner and boss has dismissed talk of joining the Woking-based team as he has lot of fishing planned:
“I’m focused on my fishing at the moment, no discussions, no comments,” he said at Motor Sport magazine’s ‘Hall Of Fame’ awards ceremony on Wednesday. “I’ve got a lot of very enjoyable fishing trips planned!
“Come the summer I may take stock and things may change – never say never – but it’s not my plan. Any approaches I’ve had I have replied with a polite rebuff. I am very flattered but simply I don’t want to get involved or engaged.”
It seems that Brawn is relishing the chance to take advantage of some leisure time after several decades of toil, tumult and success in Formula 1. Having won two titles while at Benetton, Brawn followed 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher to Ferrari secure another five titles with the Italian carmaker.
Brawn left Honda for a fishing sabbatical but returned to lead Honda’s Formula 1 effort in 2007-2008. When Honda left the sport in 2009, Brawn purchased the assets and promptly set about winning another title under his own team name of brawn GP with Jenson Button at the wheel. With Button squarely at McLaren now, this becomes even more salient when you consider that Honda is returning to F1 as an engine supplier for McLaren in 2015.
The new role of CEO of McLaren Racing follows a big shakeup in the return of Ron Dennis as the group CEO managing the entire racing operation. Dennis announced the new position and while the specific duties have not been revealed, Brawn most likely understands the role as his former employer, Mercedes, seemed to have created the position for former Williams F1 investor Toto Wolff. Wolff parted ways with Brawn by poaching McLaren’s Paddy Lowe and installing him as team boss (Brawn’s then-current position).
According to Brawn, no conversations have occurred between himself and McLaren but even if it did, it sounds as if his timing might not work for what McLaren needs. Time will tell if Brawn will return to Formula 1 but if he did, one has to think that McLaren would be an interesting home for him.