Honda crisis inspires Brawn

Tue, 13 November 2007, 06:18

Ross Brawn might have returned to Ferrari in 2008 if the Italian team was “in crisis”, he has revealed.

The 52-year-old engineer, who spearheaded Ferrari’s technical challenge throughout the ultra successful Michael Schumacher era, was on Monday confirmed as Honda’s new team principal.

Brawn held talks with Ferrari near the end of his recent sabbatical, but he said returning to Maranello while the team celebrated its newly won world titles would have been like “putting on a very comfortable glove”.

“The fact that Ferrari wasn’t in crisis made it less attractive to me,” the Briton said during a conference call on Monday.

In stark contrast to Ferrari’s success in 2007 even without Brawn, Honda scored a meagre six points all season with the abysmal RA107 ‘earth car’.

He said of his recent Ferrari talks: “I just wasn’t getting a feeling that there was a strong enough challenge for me.”

Brawn’s Honda salary, moreover, will be performance-dependent, which he said is a “great incentive” to deliver for the Japanese giant.

Brawn also said he was looking forward to being based in England, where his family has always lived, after a long tenure abroad.

He said he had “missed” formula one this year.

“I had a wonderful year but you can only indulge yourself for so long,” Brawn added.

Countryman Jenson Button, who earlier threatened to quit if Honda has another uncompetitive season in 2008, is understood to have greeted the news of Brawn’s arrival later this month as “the best thing that has happened in a long time”.

But Brawn played down the effect that he can have on next year’s car.

“That (car) has been manufactured, but I hope I can start to introduce philosophies and ideas for the future,” he said.

He also dismissed speculation that he nearly switched to Red Bull as part of a ‘super team’ alongside Adrian Newey and possibly Fernando Alonso.

“Honda was the only team I talked to after the Ferrari discussions came to nothing,” he said.

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