There’s been some interesting attempts to plug Ross brawn’s name into gaps that have come and gone in Formula 1. Since leaving Mercedes AMG Petronas, the team he once owned, sold and built for the German manufacturer, he’s been linked to a return to Ferrari with James Allison’s departure, a role at McLaren with the rumors of Ron Dennis stepping out and even a role at Renault. I’ve read them all in the press and that’s okay, it’s their job to poke around at possibilities.
Having read an extensive interview with Ross several weeks ago, it was clear that he wasn’t keen to return to the grind of running a team and traveling the world with the F1 circus. Now it seems that he’s more interested in helping the series than he is any particular teams. With Christian Horner suggesting last year that Brawn might be the best guy to lay out the future direction of F1, the former Ferrari team boss said:
“That was nice to hear from Christian. That’s how I like to be involved in the sport.
“I would never go back to a team. I did everything I can in a team, but I would be repeating myself.
“For sure, trying to help F1 become a better F1 would be appealing. It would be the one thing that could be interesting.
“If you ask me what F1 needs, it needs a plan; a three-year and a five-year plan. My view is we haven’t got the ideal structure for creating that plan and implementing it over time.”
All of this comes amidst the takeover process of Liberty Media who I assume have their own ideas of where the sport should go in the future and I would be slightly surprised if they offered Ross a role with the company on a commercial side of the table but they may very well see the wisdom in that and find a role that would work with Chase Carey. Why? When Bernie Ecclestone decides to leave, it will leave a massive gap to the relationships he’s built with the teams, promoters, circuit owners, government officials, and sponsors of the sport. It’s a huge hole and Ross would be a person who would know all the players involved.
Would Liberty Media want that kind of consolidated power behind Ross or more likely Carey? My hunch would be the latter but I may be wrong. Also, I would think that Ross would be, perhaps, best suited for the FIA regulatory side of the table working to define the technical and sporting regulations of the series. His old teammate, Jean Todt, is currently head of the FIA and I am unclear on the nature of their current relationship. I have no reason to believe it’s frosty but I don’t see it as a cozy one either.
Some may seriously argue that Ross would be a good successor to Todt as they haven’t been particular keen on the Frenchman’s leadership since taking the helm from Max Mosley. Would Ross be a good fit? Would he like spending all his time in Paris? Probably not. A role within the FIA as a technical delegate and wprking with Charlie Whiting might be a better role.
There was a time when Jean Todt was pressured to appoint a head of the F1 program for the FIA leaving Jean to focus on road safety and electric cars. Perhaps Ross would be the guy for this role?
Ross was critical of the Mercedes team and said he didn’t trust the likes of Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff or Paddy Lowe, when he came on board, and that’s why he left the team. Regardless, Toto said that his relationship with Brawn is fine and that he would endorse Ross for any role in leading F1:
“Ross has huge experience, is the right personality and has the technical knowledge of potentially playing an important part in Formula 1 going forward,” he added.
“He has been around forever, but he now has the right distance from any team of being away a few years.
“If I need to underwrite Ross coming back in a leadership function in Formula 1 then he has my vote.”
Truth be known, there are a lot of folks that might like to see Ross back in the sport but the big question is, what capacity is he willing to serve and with whom?