Liberty made a bold statement of intent last night, removing Bernie Ecclestone – widely regarded as Mr.F1 – from a throne he had occupied for four decades. A seismic shift that I have been slightly skeptical of thus far.
However, Liberty have followed up yesterday’s bombshell with a number of lines that have had F1 fans grinning from ear to ear.
None more so than the announcement that Ross Brawn is to take up a role as Managing Director of F1. Sliced bread comes to mind…
Since leaving Mercedes at the end of 2013, Brawn has enjoyed retirement. The legendary team boss swapped the pit wall for his sofa on a Sunday afternoon and has rediscovered what it is like to be a fan.
An armchair pundit, just like you and me.
From this position, he will have been able to take a subjective view of F1. Unlike the teams, who are bound by agendas and sporting goals, Brawn re-enters the paddock having seen the F1-sphere from the outside.
This situation can be likened to what happened when Disney bought Star Wars. Fans were disillusioned by the prequel trilogy, which most would concur was a far-cry from the original George Lucas blockbusters. J.J Abrams was one of these fans and crafted The Force Awakens out of the knowledge he gained while being an audience member.
The film was a triumph. It was what the fans wanted because it was essentially directed by a fan. Ross Brawn’s influence on F1 has the potential to be the same as Abrams’ effect on the direction and success of Star Wars’ return to cinema screens.
What will be crucial to Brawn’s success is if he can get the teams to cooperate. As identified in previous pieces, one of F1’s key roadblocks is the fact that fundamental change is only possible with near universal support from the teams.
However, if anyone can bang some heads together and generate productivity among F1’s dysfunctional political chambers, it is Ross Brawn.