Some people just don’t know how to go on sabbatical. Ross Brawn is obviously bored already with his round-the-world fishing holiday and has been talking to the German magazine, Auto Motor und Sport about his return to F1.
He says very little but there are hints included that tempt me to say, “I told you so.” From being a certainty, returning to Ferrari as the boss is now just an option. And resuming as technical director won’t cut it anymore. It seems to me that Ross has realized that it may not be as easy to go back to Ferrari as he once thought.
In a year’s time, the team as now constituted will be settled and everyone jealously guarding their position. Stepping down to allow room for Brawn may not be a priority for whoever is leading the team by then. Someone is bound to come up with the idea that, just because Ross was a great technical director, it does not follow that he would make a great team boss.
Clearly, Ross is keeping his options open. He is prepared to give Ferrari first shot at a job offer but it has to be as the boss. Once honor is satisfied, he is up for grabs by any team that makes the right offer.
Most likely to want Brawn is McLaren. Mercedes is apparently a little annoyed by Ron Dennis’ sale of shares to an Arab consortium and may well be looking for ways to increase their hold on the team. Since Ron looks to be preparing for retirement anyway, Ross Brawn might appear at just the right moment to be his replacement, especially as he has already demonstrated a loyalty to his employers and a willingness to tread the company line.
Whatever happens, it is becoming apparent that Brawn’s future is not set in stone – he has options apart from Ferrari and is not averse to considering them. All that remains to be seen is whether Ferrari can continue to win, now that the Schumacher/Todt/Brawn triumvirate is broken and dispersed.
Personally, I doubt it.