Ross Brawn to take six-month break from Formula 1

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
The Formula 1 career of Ross Brawn

Ross Brawn says he plans to take six months off before deciding whether to return to Formula 1.

His last day as Mercedes team principal is on Friday after he decided to step down following management changes.

Brawn told BBC Sport: "I am refusing to discuss any possible future positions until at least next summer.

"I want to clear my mind, take a rest and then decide if I want to return to F1, subject of course to any opportunities existing."

Brawn was the mastermind of all seven of Michael Schumacher's world titles at Benetton and Ferrari and also won the championship with Jenson Button with his own team in 2009.

The 59-year-old has been linked with potential future roles at McLaren, governing body the FIA and Honda, which is returning to F1 as McLaren's engine supplier in 2015.

McLaren chairman Ron Dennis admitted that he had spoken to Brawn about the future.

Dennis told BBC Sport: "I did have a conversation with him but we were shooting together. We were having a chat and we're mature motor racing people so of course you're going to talk about life.

"But going beyond that, as you would expect, it's normal stuff. People probe around, the possible, the impossible. My understanding is he intends to take a year off. That's my understanding of his intention."

Brawn said: "It wouldn't be fair or appropriate to say if any parties have invited me for discussions.

"I am starting my fishing trips early next year and only time will tell if Formula 1 and me ever get together again."

McLaren emphasised that team principal Martin Whitmarsh and Brawn had a long-standing and friendly relationship.

A McLaren spokesman said: "Martin and Ross have known each other for more than 20 years, get on very well and speak frequently. Our understanding is that Ross intends to enjoy some well-earned rest next year."

Dennis owns 25% of McLaren but has non-executive status and no role on the F1 side of the business.

But sources say he is trying to engineer his way back in charge of the team and believes Brawn is a potential candidate to take over as Whitmarsh.

The balance of the shareholding in the F1 team is held by the Bahraini royal family's Mumtalakat investment fund, which owns 50%, and Dennis's long-time business partner Mansour Ojjeh, who owns 25%.

Ojjeh is in hospital following a double lung transplant and Dennis is said to be trying to raise money from Chinese investors to buy the Saudi businessman's shareholding.

Dennis refused to comment on specifics, but did not rule out a change of shareholding.

"Every year there is a specific window that is designed to be outside the racing season in which share transactions can be considered," he said.

"I don't think we have gone past that specific window in any specific year where people haven't looked at the situation.

"So what is coming into the media is the rumours that have no more value than the fact this is the time of the year that people look at equity, we set our budgets and business plans and you're just picking up the bits and pieces that stem out of that process."

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