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.

Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.