Formula One: Ross Brawn wants 'racing' back in F1

Britain's Ross Brawn, team principal of Mercedes GP smiles as he walks on the paddock at the Shanghai International circuit, in Shanghai, China, on April 15, 2010.
Britain's Ross Brawn, team principal of Mercedes GP smiles as he walks on the paddock at the Shanghai International circuit, in Shanghai, China, on April 15, 2010. PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (AFP) - Ross Brawn wants to oversee a more competitive Formula One season when he returns to the sport.

Brawn, who helped launch Michael Schumacher's brilliant career at Benetton and oversaw the German driver's five Formula One world titles at Ferrari, has been brought in as the sport's technical chief by new chairman Chase Carey after three years away from the Grand Prix circuit.

The shake-up has come after Englishman Bernie Ecclestone's time as the colourful ringmaster of Formula One was effectively finished on Monday (Jan 23) when US-based Liberty Media completed its takeover of motorsport's most prestigious brand in a deal valued at about US$8 billion (S$11 billion).

There have been complaints that under the 86-year-old Ecclestone, Formula One has failed to move with the times and Brawn believes the sport has become too complex, with not enough of the wheel-to-wheel action fans love.

"I think simplicity is a key objective for the future," Brawn, who left Mercedes in 2013, told BBC Radio Five on Tuesday (Jan 24).

"I've watched F1 for the last few years as a spectator, and there are times where even I haven't been sure what's been going on in the race," the 62-year-old Englishman added.

"It's a great sport, it's a fabulous combination of the drivers and their personalities, their competition, and then the cars and the whole thing. We just need to look at it and see how we are able to improve the show."

A key issue for many Formula One enthusiasts is how the rest of the grid can challenge the all-conquering Mercedes team.

Mercedes have won three consecutive driver and team titles, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who retired after taking the world title last season, monopolising the drivers' championship.

"I think the fans want racing, and we haven't seen too much of that lately," Brawn said.

"We've seen a great competition between two drivers in the same team for the last few years, and that's no fault of Mercedes as they've done a fabulous job.

"There's different types of fans of course, and this is where the complication comes. There are fans who come to the races, there's the fans who watch on TV, there's the fans who watch through other media. It's finding a balance between all of those requirements.

"We want the race, for instance, to be as big a show as we can make it, so when you come to a race for a weekend, you're entertained from beginning to end."