The start of the 2014 salmon fishing season on the River Dee was celebrated on Saturday at Potarch Bridge, between Aberdeen and the royal castle at Balmoral, in Scotland. The honour of making the first cast of the season was accorded this year to Ross Brawn, once nicknamed “Maggot” by colleagues in the Williams team because of his love of fishing and the fact that he ran a bait shop in Didcot in his spare time. Brawn took this remote and unusual event to announce to the F1 world that he is not planning to return to Formula 1, having left Mercedes Benz at the end of 2013.
“It’s a fantastic honour to do the ceremonial opening of the River Dee. It’s a river I’ve never had a chance to fish before because it is predominantly known as a spring river and in the spring I’m normally trying to sort out a Formula 1 car in Spain,” he said. “February, March and April are never good months for me to go fishing – but this year is different, having stopped. What they didn’t realise when I was invited here was they had a scoop because the world’s press was trying to find out if I was retiring or not. I’m retiring – it’s not tongue in cheek. I’m going to take a year to enjoy the fishing and then see what life brings. I’m looking forward to it, but I’ve got no other plans.”
Whether Brawn might decided to un-retire himself if a suitable offer comes along is another matter. He is still only 59, but he has made a considerable fortune, not only during his time as Technical Director of Ferrari between 1997 and 2006 but, more substantially, in 2009 when he and a number of team colleagues took over the Honda F1 team for a token £1 when Honda decided to walk away from the sport. The Japanese also agreed to provide a budget to keep the team in operation, although lay-offs were necessary. They renamed the team Brawn Grand Prix and stuck a Mercedes-Benz engine in the Honda chassis and, thanks largely to an aerodynamic tweak that no-one else had thought of, were able to win the World Championship with Jenson Button.
Brawn is believed to have had a 54 percent share in the team, with Nick Fry having 31 percent and four others sharing the remaining 15 percent. A little more than six months later they were able to sell the team to Mercedes Benz for a reported £110 million, which meant that Brawn probably pocketed around £60 million. So he does not need to worry about where his next crust is coming from… nor, for the matter, do the fish.