Brawn, Byrne, Schumacher and Stepney to form new F1 Team?

At the end of this year, the “Dream Team” of the last dozen years or so – and all of Schumacher’s successful years – will be free of contractual obligations to the Ferrari race team.

Ross Brawn, the phenomenally successful Technical Director of first Jaguar, then Benetton and latterly Ferrari is on a “sabbatical” this year. Chief Designer Rory Byrne has once again “retired to Thailand” as he did when he left Benetton and later resurfaced at Ferrari. Schumacher is calmly enjoying F1 from the Ferrari pitlane, lounging around and not doing much more than scaring the life out of Kimi Raikkonen, wondering what to do with his hundreds of millions of dollars – and keenly observing how a modern GP team is run from the pitwall. Nigel Stepney meanwhile is on gardening leave from Ferrari, “holidaying with his family in the Phillipines” – which isn’t so far away from Rory Byrne’s Thai hideaway.

At the same time, Ferrari itself seems to be imploding under the weight of its “Italianisation” process. They are accusing Nigel Stepney of criminal activity – but under Italian law this probably means no more then “has resigned from Ferrari”. Raikkonen has lost his edge, Massa no longer is (the massa), two aerodynamicists have left Ferrari, their wind tunnel has broken, and there must be untold political turmoil and upheaval in Ferrari as a whole. There are even rumours that Jean Todt and Luca de Montezemolo are leaving, Todt to “retirement” and Montezemolo to Fiat.

The Dream Team won 7 World Championships in the 13 years they were together, a phenomenal hit rate for a team in a sport with 10 teams competing, 6 of which being the teams of main car manufacturers. They have had loads of success – but one thing eludes them. They have never owned a team. And that may be one burning ambition they still need to reach out for.

With Jean Todt’s connections, Renault engines would be easy to procure. Brawn and Byrne together would make up a superb strategic team, with Stepney in charge of the engineering side, and with Schumacher providing the fuel for publicity, if not some money also.

We know that Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley are not going to be in their jobs forever, and Flavio Briatore is just the kind of person to want one of those particular jobs, thus leaving Renault with a vacuum. They clearly won’t be impressed with their current fall from grace. There may be room in Renault’s thought-kit for a new approach.

Whether the plan would work or not is anybody’s guess, I’m just speculating here. But it sounds plausible, and I can’t see this band of successaholics sitting around twiddling their thumbs forever more when they have so much life left in them.

They are almost certainly planning something. The question is though, exactly what?


5 comments on “Brawn, Byrne, Schumacher and Stepney to form new F1 Team?

  1. Now that’s a very interesting idea. Perhaps the shrewd David Richards is lining them up?

    Imagine a Prodrive-Mercedes based on a customer MP4/22 chassis run by those Big Four…

  2. […] Fifth Decade – Brawn, Byrne, Schumacher and Stepney to form new F1 team? (external) […]

  3. I can’t see Mercedes putting any of their hard-won success at risk by sharing it with a new team – although I can see why they might like to be associated with Schumacher. I also can’t see Ron Dennis letting anyone have a McLaren chassis ever – he doesn’t let the drivers keep their trophies, for heaven’s sake! IIRC McLaren also keep all their old cars…

    If they don’t gel with Renault, the other team out there right now who might jump at the chance of salvation would be Honda. I am thinking that Williams will take over the works Toyota role before long, leaving only Honda with a poorly performing factory team.

    My money’s still on Renault though – if Jean Todt is involved.

  4. What planet are you from? Check your facts. Ferrari are in talks with Schumacher on a permanent position at Ferrari. Montezemolo IS already the president of Fiat. He’s been for some time now. Brawn has already confirmed his return to the Ferrari team. You also should not jump to conclusions and stick to FACT. Stepney is a mechanic, not an engineer. Check your facts here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel_Stepney. What the hell could he possibly do at any team but manage the mechanical side of the team. He doesn’t have any formal engineering education. He used to be a lousy soccer player for heavens sake. The Ferrari engineering department was lead by Paolo Martinelli, yup an Italian. He designed the successful engine that drove Ferrari to 5 consecutive drivers and constructors championships. Paolo’s start at Ferrari coincides with Ferrari’s rise to power in the late nineties. Your “Italianisation” theory only seems to hold water in your own tiny brain. You must be American, because only an American’s peewee brain would make such comments. In fact, reading your comments about Briatore and Ecclestone make me laugh. It seems you know nothing about F1 at all! Stick to America, my friend. Stick to NASCAR and CART; that’s really where brain-dead people belong! Cheers!

  5. I see close association with red cars creates a red mist that obscures clear argument. What on earth has football got to do with the issue?

    I guess it also explains your rose tinted view of Ferrari. All the stories I mentioned can be found in many places on the web – and where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

    The turnaround in Ferrari’s engine department came not with Martinelli, but with the ex-Honda engine man Osamu Goto Ferrari poached for a couple of years. Before he came on board, Ferrari’s engines were as self-destructive as their internal politics. After he arrived, Ferrari suddenly gained Japanese reliability. Surprise, surprise!

    These days of course, engineers are the guys who get oil under their finger nails – it’s the designers who use computers who design the cars and the Technical Directors who oversee strategy. They don’t get called mechanics anymore for the same reasons as Salesmen get called names such as Executives of one sort or another, and Managing Directors are now known as CEOs.

    You need to keep up. Ferrari have begun the process of implosion. Just watch!

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