It is no secret that Ferrari has struggled in recent years. Even with all the resources behind them, Ferrari has been unable to close the gap to their German rivals. In the meantime Red Bull has surpassed them. Being the #3 team on the grid is completely unacceptable to Ferrari. A series of poor finishes and reliability woes has made one thing clear, changes need to happen at Ferrari. One change in particular has emerged and that is Ferrari’s targeting F1 engineering legend Ross Brawn.
Everywhere Ross Brawn has gone has become a winner. He was at Benetton when Michael Schumacher won his first 2 titles. He then followed the German great to Ferrari and enjoyed 5 more championships. Later in the wake of Honda’s exit from the sport he took over the team. Even though the chassis wasn’t designed for the Mercedes powerplant Brawn GP managed to win the title in its first season with Jenson Button. Brawn GP would be bought out by Mercedes and Brawn would be instrumental in laying the groundwork for their recent domination. The message is clear, where Brawn goes Championships follow.
So you can see why any team, let alone Ferrari would be interested in Brawn. Thing is Brawn has been retired since 2013. He has no desire at this point to travel to 21 races. He is enjoying retirement and has already refused Ferrari’s initial offer. So what position, if any, could Ferrari offer that would entice Brawn to come back? It is understood that Ferrari is offering a Consultant position. Brawn would offer guidance and direction for Ferrari as they try to get back to the sharp end of the F1 grid. This is appealing to both sides. Ferrari gets Brawn’s immense talent and knowledge base, without requiring Brawn to work full-time.
While convincing Brawn to work for them in any form of technical advisory would be a huge win for Ferrari I think the manner of which they are perusing it is very un-Ferrari-like. They are bending over backwards to capitulate to Brawn. It shows me, you and the world one thing. Ferrari is desperate. Ferrari is a middle of the pack team now, and that does not fly well in Maranello. An argument could be made that Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne and team principal Maurizio Arrivabene are simply doing whatever it takes to win. I don’t necessarily agree with that. It is one thing to relentlessly pursue talent in the quest for victory. It is a different thing entirely to chase a name.
Would Brawn in any capacity help Ferrari? Absolutely. You’d have to be thick in the head to think otherwise. Brawn is happily retired and has shown little interest in returning to F1. So the question has to be asked, how long would Brawn be willing to commit to the Job?
“Never say never about any of those sort of things, but I’m quite content doing what I’m doing and nothing has come along that I would be motivated and interested in.” Brawn told a reporter in a recent interview with Sky, “My nature when I was involved was 24/7 and I’m not sure I want a 24/7 anymore.”
The simple fact is, Brawn doesn’t need Ferrari as much as Ferrari needs him. Even if he does take the part-time consultant position Brawn could leave whenever he wants. I think Ferrari should be looking for new talent. Someone who doesn’t dictate to them their own terms. There has to be some smart people out there capable of building a Championship caliber car not named Brawn or Newey. There was a point where they were fresh-faced, someone gave them a chance and look at them now.
Ferrari has been caught looking too much the past while teams like Mercedes and Red Bull have surpassed them. Ferrari can no longer get by simply on name alone. They need to do something different. Hiring Brawn would help them in the short-term, but for Ferrari to be successful long-term they need to shift their line of thinking. Ferrari is like the Yankees. For years the Yankees enjoyed success by luring the best names away from their current teams. They promised big money and championships. Well look at the Yankees now. They have a huge payroll filled with stars past their prime with no young replacements on the horizon. The Yankees are not a playoff contender right now or in the near future. Ferrari is in a slightly better position but if they’re not careful they will waste Sebastian Vettel’s talents while they search for speed. Or even worse, Vettel will get fed up and leave.