Gone fishing: F1 giant Ross Brawn makes it official — he’s retired

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Rather than take a rumored job with McLaren, it appears that Ross Brawn’s sabbatical after leaving Mercedes at the end of last season will become permanent.

The Telegraph in the United Kingdom reported Saturday that Brawn, who has won 16 Formula One titles — eight drivers’ and eight constructors’ crowns — in his storied career, announced at a fishing tournament in Scotland that he is officially calling it a career.

“I’m retiring – it’s not tongue in cheek,” Brawn told The Telegraph. “I’m going to take a year to enjoy the fishing and then see what life brings. I’m looking forward to it but I’ve got no other plans.

“What they didn’t realize when I was invited here (to the fishing tourney) was they had a scoop because the world’s press was trying to find out if I was retiring or not. This is the busiest time of the year for Formula One and I said I would come along and open the River Dee.

“If they had put two and two together they would have realized I was definitely retiring.”

Rumors began flying in the last month that Brawn, 59, would soon join McLaren as CEO, a new role created shortly after Ron Dennis returned to the organization.

Brawn has served in a number of roles and with several teams since he first joined Williams as a mechanic in the 1970s. He eventually became technical director at Benetton in the early 1990s, leading Schumacher to F1 titles in 1994 and 1995, and then spearheaded a run of five consecutive titles with Ferrari and Schumacher from 2000 through 2004.

Brawn went on to form his own team, Brawn GP, and won the 2009 F1 title with Jenson Button driving a Mercedes.

Brawn announced after last season that he was ending his association with Mercedes and was “going fishing.”

Now, he’ll have plenty of time to worry about rods in his hands than rods inside some of the most sophisticated motors in auto racing.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.