Friday 6 December 2019

F1: Fighting talk from F1 supremo at palace date

Ross Brawn vowed today to fight
Ross Brawn vowed today to fight "tooth and claw and nail" during the imminent Formula One championshi. Photo: Getty Images

Motor racing boss Ross Brawn vowed today to fight "tooth and claw and nail" during the imminent Formula One championship as he was awarded an OBE by the Queen.

Brawn, the 55-year-old team principal of Mercedes GP, is in final preparations for the start of the season that begins on Sunday with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

But he was at Buckingham Palace to receive the OBE for winning both the drivers' and constructors' titles last year with his team Brawn GP, and for his outstanding contribution to motor sports over a career spanning more than 30 years.

The team principal is also credited with masterminding driver Michael Schumacher's seven world titles while technical director for racing teams Benetton and Ferrari.

He has been reunited with Schumacher, who will be driving for Mercedes this season, but remained cautious when asked about his prediction for his team's performance in 2010.

After the ceremony, he said: "Sometimes you go during the winter and you see you've got a strong car and feel more comfortable, but you're always anxious about whether someone else has made more progress or whether you've underestimated the opposition.

"Until Sunday in Bahrain, I won't honestly know, but I think we're okay.

"It will be tooth and claw and nail and everything this year - it's going to be a very, very tough championship."

Brawn, who will fly out to Bahrain later today to join his team ahead of the season's first grand prix, said he was delighted to receive the OBE.

He said: "This is obviously a tremendous honour and it's very much a team sport, Formula One - so this is an honour for me and all the great people I've worked with."

The team principal described 2009 as "unbelievable" and was able to win the top awards despite his employers Honda pulling out of Formula One before the championship began.

The racing boss led a management buyout of the team which was named after him and said staff got a sense something special was happening

He added: "The efforts of everyone over the winter, knowing they might not have a future, was amazing but once they got a smell they might have a good car they fought a very hard championship - it's certainly the pinnacle of my career."

Mercedes-Benz has now taken a controlling stake in Brawn GP, with the team re-named after the company but with the 55-year-old remaining as team principal.

Brawn began his career with Sir Frank Williams, motor racing boss of the Williams Formula One team, after answering a newspaper advert on a whim in the 1970s and staying with the team for seven years.

"In that seven-year period we won two world championships. It went from a team of 11 people to 200, so when I joined Frank I did everything," he said.

"I designed bits, made them, was a mechanic on the car, drove the truck - so I was very fortunate being in the right place at the right time."

Brawn worked for a number of teams before joining Benetton in the early 1990s and having success with Schumacher before moving on to Ferrari where he continued to win races with the German driver.

Jenson Button, Brawn's driver last year, won the drivers' title but has moved on to McLaren where he will race alongside former champion Lewis Hamilton.

Brawn said: "That's the fascination this year - you've got lots of teams with two very strong drivers, and by definition one of them is going to do worse than the other and there are people not used to doing worse.

"You've got Jenson and Lewis, both of them world champions, and one is going to do a better job than the other - and the one that hasn't has got to come to terms with it."

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, tickets to Ireland's against Scotland in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

PA Media

The Left Wing: The problem with the Champions Cup, the Stephen Larkham effect and trouble in Welsh rugby

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport