Honda announced on November 12th that Ross Brawn is to take up the position of team principal and will work alongside Nick Fry, who will continue as CEO. Brawn stepped down from his post of Ferrari technical director at the end of 2006 for a ...
Honda announced on November 12th that Ross Brawn is to take up the position of team principal and will work alongside Nick Fry, who will continue as CEO. Brawn stepped down from his post of Ferrari technical director at the end of 2006 for a sabbatical period and he was thought likely to rejoin the Scuderia, but apparently negotations stalled as terms could not be agreed.
Instead Honda, which has been on a recruitment drive in the past few months, has secured the services of one of F1's most highly regarded individuals. Brawn worked with Michael Schumacher for all of the German's seven drivers' titles, first at Benetton then Ferrari, and is widely credited as being the technical and tactical driving force behind Ferrari's dominance of the first half of this decade.
"Today's announcement that Ross Brawn is to join our team is a very satisfying conclusion to the process of refreshing and revitalising a strong and determined team," said Fry. "Ross obviously needs no introduction. His experience of winning world championships in Formula One will be crucial as we seek to put Honda back into championship contention and I am delighted that we will be working together to achieve that."
It's quite a coup for Honda, which desperately needs an upturn in its fortunes. The team struggled badly in 2007 and managed a scant total of six points for the season; Jenson Button supplied them while Rubens Barrichello had to suffer not scoring any at all. Button said he would leave Honda if 2008 is not a vast improvement and Brawn could well be the man who can bring that improvement about.
"I am very excited to be joining the Honda Racing F1 Team," said Brawn, who starts work with the team on November 26th. "Honda has a proud heritage in Formula One and the opportunity to help the team to realise its potential represents a fantastic new challenge for me in the sport."
"The team has already done a great job of giving due consideration to its future and has spent a good deal of time putting in place both people and first class engineering resources to achieve its ambitions. I look forward to working alongside what I know to be some very talented people and helping Honda to rediscover its winning ways."
Fry will now focus on Honda's commercial and business interests while senior technical director Shuhei Nakamoto will take the role of deputy MD of the technical side. "The appointment of Ross Brawn will bring World Championship winning experience and technical vision to our team and I expect Ross and Nick Fry to work closely together to bring success to Honda in Formula One," said Honda's operating officer Hiroshi Oshima.
Brawn was recently linked with Red Bull, in a rumoured 'super team' deal with double champion Fernando Alonso, but it was mostly presumed that he would go back to Ferrari. However, media reports suggest that Brawn was after the team principal position at Maranello, currently held by Jean Todt, but that was not on offer.
Button and Barrichello continue as Honda's race drivers in 2008 but the test driver role is open after Christian Klien recently confirmed that the team agreed to release him so he could focus on finding a race seat for next season. Due to the limit on in-season testing teams often have the racers on duty, so test drivers have little chance to be on track. Klien will test with Force India (previously Spyker) this week.