Brawn to leave Mercedes for McLaren? (7th Update)

UPDATE #7 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' after Brawn announced he is retiring from F1.

01/31/14 Ross Brawn on Thursday denied speculation he is set to join McLaren as its new chief executive.

The great British team announced this week that Eric Boullier is switching from Lotus to be the new 'racing director', but the Frenchman will report to an as-yet unappointed chief executive.

Brawn, having stepped down at Mercedes, has been mentioned as the obvious candidate.

But when asked by Britain's Sky on Thursday about the McLaren speculation, the Briton responded: "I'm focused on my fishing at the moment — no discussions, no comments.

"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," Brawn insisted.

Ross Brawn prepared to make McLaren Honda a winner again?

01/18/14 Staff at McLaren welcomed the return of Ron Dennis to control of the Formula One team on Friday, as the paddock was awash with speculation that Ross Brawn could end his sabbatical early to take over from Martin Whitmarsh as team principal.

McLaren announced on Thursday that Dennis is replacing Whitmarsh as group chief executive officer, before declaring he will undertake a root-and-branch investigation in to the team’s dismal 2013 performance, which was their worst since 1980, as they failed to finish on the podium.

In a 20-minute speech to staff at the Woking factory, after which he received a standing ovation, Dennis promised “there will be changes" and that “we will win again". Telegraph Sport understands there will be further announcements on the leadership of the team next month, but that no-one has been sacked or made redundant.

Brawn, 59, is out of work after leaving Mercedes at the end of 2013, having concluded that he was not in favor of the team’s new management structure. McLaren did not deny the reports, but said they “would not get involved in commenting on that kind of media speculation".

Engineers and staff at the Woking-based team expressed their delight at Dennis’s return, after he surrendered control of the team to Whitmarsh in 2009. The Telegraph

12/02/13 (GMM) Ross Brawn has confirmed reports he could return to formula one, after stepping down as Mercedes' team boss.

Mercedes' team chairman Niki Lauda, who tried to convince the Briton to stay at Brackley in a new role, said on Monday he would "not be surprised" if Brawn eventually returns to the paddock after a "fishing" break.

"I really tried hard but he stays a consultant to me, which I think is very good and important," Lauda is quoted by the BBC.

The British newspaper The Mirror quoted Brawn, 58, as saying he will take "a few months off" and then "see how things pan out".

He has been linked with a return to F1 with his former employer Ferrari, or even a reunion with Honda, who after pulling out of the sport in 2008 will supply works engines to McLaren in 2015.

Lauda even said a new role at the FIA is a possibility for Brawn.

"Maybe around the summer time I'll decide what's happening — it is a sabbatical," Brawn said.

"I think if I get involved again in motor sport it will be formula one, but I'm very open minded," he added.

"I think it depends what motivates me, and what people offer, so we'll see what happens in the summer."

10/31/13 Sky F1 pundit Johnny Herbert reckons that Ross Brawn could renew his partnership with Honda as McLaren team boss – assuming, that is, he leaves Mercedes.

Brawn's future as Mercedes Team Principal is currently the subject of intense speculation, with Sky Sports News sources understanding that he is leaving at the end of the current season.

However, reports have since emerged quoting the team's non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda saying that he is still fighting to keep the 58-year-old at the team.

If Lauda's attempts at persuasion prove unsuccessful then Brawn, who has won world titles with Benetton, Ferrari and his own Brawn GP outfit, is sure to become a target for rivals.

A sabbatical has been mentioned, as has the possibility that Brawn might take a role within the FIA. According to Herbert, though, McLaren could make an ideal destination given his links to their returning engine supplier, Honda.

Brawn ran Honda's F1 team – which he subsequently took over – prior to their F1 exit in 2008 while McLaren announced in May that they will once again use power supplied by the Japanese manufacturer starting in 2015.

"Potentially, I think there's a better chance of success coming, especially when Honda comes," Herbert told Sky Sports News. "Then you have the relationship from when he was at Honda; of course, then it went to Brawn, but it was Honda who basically spent the money that got that package together.

"That success they had at Brawn, could be something through Honda, that they could actually bring together at McLaren as well."

10/14/13 (GMM) Ross Brawn has threatened to leave Mercedes if he is not assured his job as team boss is safe.

After denying he has already decided to quit, but confirmed talks are taking place, Brawn made clear on Sunday he will only stay beyond 2013 if Mercedes agrees he will have a clear role at the very top of the Brackley based team.

"I think we need a very clear definition of who is in charge and obviously I need the motivation to carry on," the 58-year-old Briton said at Suzuka.

"Any successful F1 team has to have a senior reference and that's the big question. We need to make sure if I'm to remain here that I'm the reference," Brawn told the British broadcaster Sky.

Amid rumors Brawn could be looking in McLaren and Honda's direction, he also left the door open to switching teams.

Asked if he would walk away from the sport if Mercedes doesn't give him the answer he wants, Brawn responded: "Not necessarily walk away from the sport."

Brawn's comments tie in with the latest rumblings from within McLaren, where the British team has said it will not stop after signing Red Bull's aerodynamics chief Peter Prodromou.

"This (signing) is not something isolated," managing director Jonathan Neale is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.

"There are other things we are going to do to strengthen the team.

"It's a series of things aimed at 2015 and Honda, to ensure we are on the road to victory," he added.

On the driver front, McLaren has signed – but not officially confirmed – Jenson Button for 2014, but the future of his teammate Sergio Perez remains unclear.

The Mexican's case was not strengthened at Suzuka, where he crashed heavily in practice and then earned a rebuke from Nico Rosberg after the race.

"It's not good what he's doing, we know he has issues," Mercedes' Rosberg fumed after their run-in.

10/13/13 Ross Brawn has warned he could quit Mercedes at the end of the season if he is ousted from his position as team principal.

Mercedes are currently reviewing their management structure which already contained Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff while they must also define a role for Paddy Lowe who they brought in from McLaren.

And Brawn warned he could walk away from the team if he is no longer seen as the man in charge.

Speaking ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Brawn said: 'I think we need a very clear definition of who is in charge and obviously I need the motivation to carry on.

'We have quite a heavy senior management team and we have to understand what we will all be doing.

'Any successful F1 team has to have a senior reference and that's the big question. We need to make sure if I'm to remain here that I'm the reference.'

Brawn has been linked with a move to Williams in recent weeks while their also rumors he could join Honda who are to return to the sport in 2015 when they replace Mercedes as McLaren's engine supplier.

10/12/13 Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn is set to leave the German outfit for McLaren at the end of the season, according to the German publication Sport Bild, which has long had strong connections with Mercedes-Benz management. The report suggested that Brawn will leave the team and move to McLaren to work with the team as it transitions to Honda.

Brawn is well-connected with the Japanese company having been hired to be team principal of the Honda Racing F1 team back in 2007. He remained in that role in 2008 and was then he and some fellow directors were given the team for a nominal sum. They promptly won the World Championship as Brawn GP in 2009 with Jenson Button.

Thus there is some logic in the idea. However, it has been met with a string of denials from the people involved. Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda said that nothing has changed in the team’s relationship with Brawn and that Ross will decide what he wants to do at some point.

Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai said that he knew nothing about such an idea and said he did not think it would happen. Brawn himself has said that he is not talking to Honda, nor to McLaren. This view is shared by Jenson Button who told the F1 media in Japan that “Ross Brawn will not join the team next season" but admitted that it was always possible that Brawn might join in 2015.

So did Bild get it wrong? Or is there more to the story than the folks involved are willing to admit?

Time will tell. Joe Saward [Bet it will happen. With Paddy Lowe now at Mercedes, too many cooks in the kitchen and struggling McLaren certainly needs Brawn.]

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