Ross Brawn can make F1 great, in 2021
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Why you'll see Ross Brawn walking around pit lane throughout the season
After a decorated career in Formula 1 including driver and constructor championship titles with Benetton, Ferrari and Brawn GP, Brit Ross Brawn stepped away from the sport at the start of 2014.
Brawn openly stated he was retired from the sport thereafter and had no plans to return in any capacity. Why would he, there was nothing left to prove in the Formula 1 paddock.
It came as quite a shock then when new owners Liberty Media announced in January that Brawn had been appointed to a newly created role - Managing Director of Sporting and Racing for the Formula One Group.
In this post-Bernie era there’s no doubt the wealth of knowledge, experience and relationships Brawn brings to a management level will be an asset to the Formula One Group, especially as they look to bring excitement and public interest back to the top level of four-wheeled motorsport.
But how does this new role go about achieving this? What will Brawn actually do? And will he have the powers to make meaningful change?
During pre-season testing Brawn sat down with Sky Sports UK reporter Ted Kravitz to define and discuss his appointment in Formula 1.
“This is a new approach because that didn’t exist before,” Brawn explained.
“Those functions (rule and regulation decisions) and those roles were Bernie’s (Ecclestone), and for Bernie to judge and decide what was good or bad.”
“The idea I’ve got is that Formula 1 management should have strong input into the shape of the sport, not in a reactive way but a proactive way. So we are there at the very beginning of discussions, negotiations, ideas, and we give ourselves some capacity to have those ideas, to research them properly, to understand them. ”
“My plan is to build a small group of engineers and specialist who will be working under my direction – our task will be to try and bring a bit more logic and application to where the sport should head, technically and sporting. So we don’t have knee jerk reactions, we have hopefully, some thought out ideas.”
The ability for teams to organize their thoughts, ideas and concepts in an open forum, headed by Brawn, enables teams to cooperatively balance out the recipe of cutting-edge technology manufacturers want, with the entertaining show Formula 1 fans expect.
Brawn's new role as Managing Director of Sporting and Racing also enables an independent body to examine the costs associated with developing a Formula 1 car and evaluate their necessity. A perfect example of this is the current suspension systems used.
“Nobody understands them (fans) and nobody knows anything about them,” said Brawn.
“Yet we spend millions on them. So are they really good value – I know we have to keep the sport at the peak of technology but are those things good value - and that’s where we want to play a part with the FIA and with the teams to try and find the ideal path.”
Brawn's new role grants teams, drivers and suppliers a completely new way of contributing their ideas in an arena that has legitimate power to shape and determine the direction of rules and regulations in the sport.
“It won’t be perfect, it’s (Formula 1) a bit of an oil tanker, you sort of nudge it and you steer it, but I hope we can get it going in a better direction.”