Brawn named as Honda team principal 12 Nov 2007
Honda have appointed former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn as their new team principal, it was announced on Monday. Brawn, who left Ferrari in October 2006 to take a years sabbatical, will begin work for his new employers later this month. Predecessor Nick Fry will continue as the Japanese squads chief executive.
Honda, who took a breakthrough race win at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, scored just six points during a bitterly disappointing 2007 season and the highly-rated Brawn will be tasked with improving the Japanese squads fortunes, with full responsibility for designing, manufacturing, engineering and racing their Formula One car.
"I am very excited to be joining the Honda Racing F1 Team, said the 52-year-old. 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."
Commenting on the appointment of Brawn, Fry said: 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. 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."
Having worked his way up through the ranks of the Williams team during the 1980s, Brawn headed to Benetton as technical director in 1991. During his six seasons with the team he joined forces with driver Michael Schumacher and chief designer Rory Byrne and together the trio won back-to-back drivers championships in 1994 and 1995, and the all-important constructors title in 1995.
When Schumacher left to go to Ferrari in 1996, Brawn - and Byrne - followed. The Italian team hadnt won a title since 1979, and it was a brave move for all three. Despite some difficulties the triumvirate gradually returned the Italian squad to its winning ways and between 1999 and 2004 Ferrari won successive constructors titles, while Schumacher commenced a run of five consecutive drivers crowns from 2000. When Schumacher retired at the end of the 2006 season, Brawn decided to take a break too, but was widely expected to return to his former employer.
Honda have already boosted their technical department this year with several additions including former BMW Sauber chief designer Jorg Zander and Williams chief aerodynamicist Loic Bigois. Both will now report to Brawn, as will former technical director Shuhei Nakamoto, who will now take up the role of Deputy MD (Technical). The reorganisation is also designed to allow Fry to concentrate fully on running the commercial and business aspects of the team.