Tuesday, May 26, 2009


The most famous name in Formula 1 today is Ross Brawn and Jenson Button. We know who is Jenson Button but not many know Ross Brawn. Many may not heard of him but success has come a long way for this guy in the history of Formula 1 racing. He has been involved in the sport since 1977, way before I was born.

Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s kingmaker

LONDON, May 26 — Belying his name, Ross Brawn is often credited with being the brains behind Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher’s glory years at Ferrari.

Hardly known outside the world of Grand Prix racing, this 54-year-old “thoughtful workaholic”, in the words of one commentator, is widely regarded within it as a master of mechanics, aerodynamics and, in particular, race tactics.

Formula 1’s gain was the atomic industry’s loss; the Mancunian former public schoolboy’s first job was as a trainee engineer for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority at the age of 16 in 1971.

But six years later, he took the job that was to set him on a path of sporting glory, joining the Williams team as a mechanic in 1977. A year on and he was promoted to manage William’s research and development, helping turn a little known team into the dominant force in the sport, winning the constructors’ championship for two years running.

Spells at Arrows and Jaguar followed and he was credited with significantly improving the cars at both firms. He designed the Jaguar XJR-14 driven by Teo Fabi and Derek Warwick when they came first and second in the 1991 World Sportscar Championship.

That year is also special for Brawn for another reason: he was recruited by Flavio Briatore to the lowly Benetton F1 team and designed another fastest of fast cars, which was driven to the world championships in 1994 and 1995 by Michael Schumacher.

And so when Scuderia Ferrari came calling on the world’s best driver, Schumacher made it a condition that they also acquire the services of Brawn, who was duly employed as technical director in 1997.

At the time, Williams and McLaren were the leading teams but just two years later Ferrari, Brawn and Schumacher won the first of six consecutive constructors’ titles, with the first of five drivers’ championships coming a year later.

In 2007, he left Ferrari for what was billed as a year’s sabbatical and travelled as a tourist to Russia’s Kola Peninsula, New Zealand and South America.

When he returned last year, Brawn, who lives near Henley-on-Thames with his wife and two children, not far from the boarding school he attended as a child, became head of Honda’s racing team.

However, amid the global recession, the Japanese car giant decided to pull out of racing at the end of the year.

Brawn, a quietly spoken man who lists his other interests as fishing, gardening and music, decided to step in, save the team and Brawn GP was born.

In Monaco, its driver Jenson Button won his fifth race out of six in the season, a success rate which has surprised even seasoned motor-racing observers.

Button may have a glittering future ahead of him, judging by the accolades of the man who is “statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen”, according to the Formula 1 website.

“His decisions changed everything for me,” Schumacher once said. “Ross is a very clever man who can examine a situation and give us a plan to win. Not everybody has that gift. He is the best in Formula One.” — Daily Telegraph

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