Ross Brawn has denied reports he is set to replace Bernie Ecclestone as F1 supremo. It emerged this week that the former Ferrari and Mercedes chief has been lined up by new F1 owners Liberty to be the sporting CEO, in a role that seemingly clashes with Ecclestone's job. Brawn denies it. "I'm doing a little consulting to help them better understand F1 but that's all," he told the BBC.
Brawn also said the future "all depends" on 86-year-old Ecclestone. For his part, Ecclestone does not seem willing to go. According to Auto Motor und Sport, it may be significant that in Mexico last weekend, the FOM pavilion was actually labelled "Mr. E". And Ecclestone sounds lukewarm about Brawn having a job in the area of F1's commercial rights. But "I would be very pleased if he went to the FIA," he told Germany's Auto Bild.
And Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda also played down the idea that Brawn could 'replace' Ecclestone. "Ross is an excellent engineer," he told the German newspaper Bild, "but a gifted businessman like Bernie Ecclestone cannot be replaced."
Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost agrees that it will not be a case of Ecclestone simply being replaced by someone. "I think the taking-over process takes time," he said. "I assume that next year and also the year after it will be a combination of Bernie and Liberty together."
And Force India chief Bob Fernley also said it would not be wise for F1 to transition too quickly. "We need Bernie to help the transition into the new ownership," he said. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing