Posts filed under ‘Honda’

Todt on his Todd at Ferrari

In a somewhat surprising move, yesterday Ferrari announced that Jean Todt, Team Principal, was kicked upstairs (probably to become CEO) and that Stefano Domenicali would replace the Frenchman as Ferrari boss.

That this move was made on the same day that Honda announced the capture of former Ferrari Technical Director, Ross Brawn, wasn’t coincidence. It is no secret that Brawn wanted to return to F1 as a Team Principal and that Ferrari was his first choice. Unless Ferrari badly misplayed their hand something has gone tragically wrong. Brawn is acknowledged as the smartest brain in the paddock and is a valuable asset to any team.

So why did he shun Ferrari (if he did) and move to Honda?

The smart money is that Ferrari simply didn’t want him so any option of a return to Maranello was merely an illusion. After Ferrari’s spectacular and unexpectedly successful season the Scuderia decided that after a decade of Todt and Brawn it was time for some new blood. This is in sharp contrast to the deal on the table at the start of the year where it was agreed that Todt would take on some luminary position within the Ferrari hierarchy and would be replaced as Principal by Brawn.

However, over the course of the 2007 season it became apparent that relations between the two became frosty. If Todt’s appointment as CEO is confirmed then it is likely he will still exert a lot of control over the team and the Team Principal will become a hatchet man. Brawn refused to work under those conditions.

If that is true then good for Brawn. Good for F1 too. There is little question of how important Brawn was to Ferrari but remember the organisation had the deepest pockets in the sport. Honda is an altogether different challenge, and if Brawn can bring in silverware then he’ll be rightly lauded as one of the finest hands ever to grace the F1 Pitlane.

And Ferrari? Expect Todt to play a role. It is business as usual at Maranello.

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November 13, 2007 at 4:47 am Leave a comment

Honda appoint Ross Brawn as Team Principal

The Daily Telegraph is this morning reporting that Ross Brawn will shortly be announced as Honda’s new Team Principal.

Brawn’s future has been the subject of much speculation since he left Ferrari last year. Although he hasn’t kept his desire to run an F1 team secret the speculation up to now has been that he’d replace Jean Todt as head of the Scuderia. However, Ferrari’s remarkable double win this year, their first for three years, and Todt’s determination to continue meant that the Ferrari bosses were unable to make the switch they wanted to.

What does it mean for Honda?

Brawn’s record on the track is enviable. At Ferrari he orchestrated an era of dominance by Michael Scuhmacher never before seen in the sport. At Honda expect him to have complete control of both technical and strategic sides of the team — there is no way he’d have jumped on board a sunken ship without that kind of guarantee. Also expect Honda to have pledged significant resources to providing Brawn with a car that can win. It may be too late for Brawn to influence the 2008 car by 2010, if Brawn has anything to do with it, the Japanese-outfit should be back at the top-end of the grid.

For the Scuderia the outlook is more uncertain. There is no doubt they hankered over the return of Brawn to skipper the team into the early part of next decade. The dalliance my not be over yet. If Honda fail to give Brawn the control he craves and demands, and success isn’t forthcoming he may be asked to take over the reigns at Ferrari. And that will be a terribly hard offer to refuse.

November 12, 2007 at 4:01 am Leave a comment


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