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.