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Brawn returns to F1 as Honda team boss
November 13, 2007 10:15 IST
Honda pulled off a major Formula One coup on Monday with the announcement that former Ferrari [Images] technical director Ross Brawn was joining them as team principal.
Brawn, the master strategist who helped Michael Schumacher [Images] win seven world championships with Benetton and Ferrari, has been on sabbatical from the Italian team since Schumacher retired at the end of 2006.
He will start work on November 26 alongside fellow Briton Nick Fry, his predecessor as team boss, who continues as chief executive.
Honda said in a statement that Brawn, who oversaw six constructors' titles in a row with Ferrari during a golden period from 1999 to 2004, would have full responsibility for designing, manufacturing, engineering and racing.
"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," said Brawn in a statement.
"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."
The news provides a major boost for Brawn's compatriot Jenson Button [Images] and Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian who won races with the 52-year-old at Ferrari.
Honda took just six points in a miserable 2007 season, all of them scored by Button.
Button has been with Honda, and their predecessors BAR, for five seasons but his patience is running out.
"The car was a complete dog and I'm just not interested in racing like this any more," he told the Mail on Sunday newspaper at the weekend.
"There's an option in my contract which means we can all sit down and discuss the future at the end of the season. If things don't work out, that's exactly what I'll be doing."
Brawn said in August that Ferrari, winners of both titles this season, were the only team he was talking to about a possible return to the sport.
However the opportunities there were limited, with Jean Todt making clear that he intends to carry on at the helm and Brawn's previous job handed to Mario Almondo and Stefano Domenicali.
The 2007 championship has been overshadowed by a spying controversy with Ferrari's former employee Nigel Stepney, a compatriot and close associate of Brawn at Ferrari, facing legal action for allegedly leaking classified technical information to rivals McLaren.
McLaren were stripped of all their constructors' points and fined $100 million for that affair, with Brawn appearing at a hearing of the governing body in Paris to lend weight to Ferrari's case.
Honda have been linked to Brawn in the paddock rumour mill since early in the season, however.
"One of my main tasks over the past six months has been to attract new talent to [Honda]," said Fry.
"His experience of winning world championships in Formula One will be crucial as we seek to put Honda back into championship contention."
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