Brawn resigns as Mercedes team principal

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Ross Brawn has resigned from his role of team principal at Mercedes, bringing to an end his five year association with the Brackley-based operation.

Brawn, 59, played an integral part in Mercedes’ return to Formula One as a works team in 2010 following the success with his own team, Brawn GP, in 2009. However, the German marque has become increasingly management-heavy after the arrivals of Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff, both of whom have a great level of influence at the team.

However, the nail in the coffin for Brawn was the arrival of Paddy Lowe from McLaren earlier this year. Brawn had made clear that should Lowe arrive at the team, he would not wish to stay. Therefore, when the new executive director technical did arrive at Brackley, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Brawn.

After months of speculation, Mercedes released a statement today confirming the news.

“The most important consideration in my decision to step down from the role as team principal was to ensure that the timing was right for the team in order to ensure its future success,” Brawn explained.

“The succession planning process that we have implemented during this year means we are now ready to conduct the transition from my current responsibilities to a new leadership team composed of Toto and Paddy.”

The Briton is confident that the team is well placed to fight Red Bull for both championships in 2014 in his absence.

“Mercedes-Benz has invested significantly in both the personnel and infrastructure at Brackley and Brixworth. Thanks to the one-team approach we have implemented between the two facilities, the team is uniquely positioned to succeed in 2014 and I am proud to have helped lay the foundations for that success.”

Brawn’s last official day with Mercedes will be December 31, after which point the team will be led jointly by Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff.

All eyes will now be on Brawn to see what his next move is, with rumors linking him to McLaren upon Honda’s return in 2015, Williams and even his former team, Ferrari. However, with little more to prove in the sport, Brawn may decide that the time is right to retire once and for all.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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