While a lot of F1 people are trying to figure out what Ross Brawn will be doing in 2015, he himself appears to be looking forward to going off to do some fishing, as he did in the gap between leaving Ferrari and joining Honda Racing F1, back in 2007. The only thing that does not really make sense in terms of his career progression is that at time he was moving up from being technical director to becoming team principal – and consequently team owner. That made his a fortune when Brawn GP was sold to Mercedes-Benz. Going back to a role of being a team principal is not really a forward step in his career. It would also involve a period of rebuilding which ever team he might join and then perhaps – if things went well – a few years winning more championships before retirement.
However, there are other opportunities that might present themselves, the most interesting perhaps being a job with the FIA, as some sort of F1 Commissioner. Jean Todt envisaged such a person in his election campaign back in 2009.
“We will appoint a new F1 Commissioner to work with all the stakeholders, including the Formula One Teams Association,” he said at the time. “We want to further develop F1 so that it benefits all those involved, from teams to fans.”
No F1 Commissioner was ever appointed, apparently because Todt struggled to find a candidate who would be suitable for such a difficult job. Instead the FIA adopted a softly softly approach in F1 which allowed Jean to deal with other problems, leaving the sport to look after itself. Some argue that the lack of any great FIA activity cleared the way for the Formula One group and the F1 teams to get themselves into a right royal pickle over governance, the future and just about everything.
When you look at what such a role would require, one cannot help but feel that Brawn would be well-suited to the task. He is pretty well respected around the F1 world and talks good sense about what is best for the sport. He has been there and done it himself and so he knows what he is talking about. He and Todt worked together successfully from 1997 to 2006 at Ferrari, winning a slew of titles before each went his own way: Todt to the FIA and Brawn to mastermind another pair of championships with his own Brawn GP in 2009.
The up-side of such a job would be that Brawn would be able to have a positive impact on the sport and, if at some point, there was to be a stock market flotation, a man in that position would have all the credentials required to become the CEO. One might even say that he could be “the next generation Bernie”…