Mystery cloaks Brawn's new F1 role

LONDON • Ross Brawn, one of Formula One's major players of the modern era, looks certain to be restored to the sport in the near future - but the precise role he will play remains uncertain.

After three years out, there were reports that he was about to be named the new head of F1. Instead, he is officially helping the sport's future owner, Liberty Media, as a consultant.

He told the BBC on Wednesday: "Liberty have not got far enough down the road to make any commitments yet. I'm doing a little consulting to help them better understand F1 but that's all."

Brawn, 61, was technical director of the championship-winning teams Benetton and Ferrari. He then became the owner of the Brawn GP team that won the championship with Jenson Button in 2009 .

But after doing much of the work to build up the current Mercedes team, he walked away from the sport at the end of the 2013 season. Since then, he has been linked with a number of teams. But it seems certain that his likely return will be in some general capacity; he is unlikely to work for a team again.

Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 chief executive officer, has described the idea that Brawn might replace him as "a load of b******t".

But Ecclestone, 86, feels Brawn could do a job for the International Automobile Federation (FIA). He told Autosport: "I'd be delighted if he went to the FIA - he would be absolutely first class. I haven't spoken to him for quite a long time. I haven't got the slightest idea what he could do. But nothing with us.

"We don't need an engineer. If anyone is going to be put in that position (CEO) then I would be the person that would be doing it."

Brawn could do an impressive job with the FIA, and his experience would make him a difficult man for any team to dupe when it comes to getting round the rules.

But a job with Liberty Media is more plausible. The media giant will be taking over F1 next year, with big ideas for the future. Brawn would be ideally placed to show the new chairman, Chase Carey, around the sport.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Mystery cloaks Brawn's new F1 role'. Print Edition | Subscribe