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.