Ross Brawn, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Brawn hires former staff to plan F1 revamp

2017 F1 season

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Formula One motorsport director Ross Brawn has appointed three major new hires to his team including two former members of Brawn GP.

Nigel Kerr will take on the role of finance director for motorsports from August. He joins F1 from Mercedes, where he worked as chief strategic officer, and worked for the outfit during its previous incarnations as Brawn, Honda and BAR.

Kerr was involved in Brawn GP’s buy-out of the team from Honda when the Japanese manufacturer withdrew from the sport at the end of 2008. He also worked on Brawn GP’s sale to Mercedes the following year.

He will be joined by fellow ex-Brawn employee Craig Wilson, who will be head of vehicle performance at F1. Wilson will work alongside new head of aerodynamics Jason Somerville.

Somerville’s experience includes spells at Williams, Lotus and Toyota as well as BMW’s successful Le Mans 24 Hours programme.

Wilson and Somerville will be part of a new group charged with researching and planning F1’s future regulations, in co-operation with the FIA’s Formula One technical department. Their brief is “improving the entertainment value, the sustainability and the sport of Formula One”, according to a statement issued by F1.

Brawn described his new appointments as “three extremely experienced figures who have established themselves as experts within Formula 1 over many decades.”

“We are building a team that enables stronger links to be forged between Formula 1’s management and the sport’s various stakeholders, ensuring that regulations are implemented with the involvement of all parties.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 34 comments on “Brawn hires former staff to plan F1 revamp”

    1. Seems a bit of an overkill to need these people full time.

      1. Its a global business with a turnover surplus of over $1,000,000,000! The days of autocracy are gone!

        I’m all for a couple of six figure salaries (and even a few more) to address the issues of the sport.

        Its moving back to primarily being a sport, not a balance sheet item for a London based hedge fund whose sole purpose was to extract every possible dollar from the sport to the benefit of people who don’t give a toss about the sport.

        Wow, F1 fans can be hard to please…..

      2. Travis Humphery (@)
        19th May 2017, 12:15

        More experienced full time employees is better than one little short guy who is the be all and end all.

      3. Not at all.

        Brawn’s been very wise in picking people he trusts. He’s made no bones about the fact he wants to bin DRS in favour of cars that can follow eachother a lot more easily. He’ll need some wise and trusted heads to bounce ideas off of.

        I’ve always thought for a while that you need current (or as current as you can get) F1 personnel to almost design a car themselves using the rules, so that they can pick out loopholes themselves and prevent issues before they actually happen.

        This seems like a big step towards that direction!

        1. @ecwdanselby
          Theres no need to pick out loopholes before they happen. What fun would that be?

          1. Fukobayashi (@)
            19th May 2017, 14:38

            @rethla to prevent them of course and stop 1 team domination as has been the case for the majority of the last 2 decades in F1.

            1. @offdutyrockstar And one team is dominating because of unstopped loopholes?

              Honda used a loophole to get more tokens to develop their engine, i dont see how that led to the Mercedes domination. This year the teams found a loophole which led to ugly T-wings. Fric was banned and this year another version of fric was banned and it hurt Red Bull the most. Please explain how loopholes create 1 team dominance.

              What you are looking for is standardised cars but F1 is an engineering competition and should remain one.

          2. To prevent such atrocities such as:

            *’Broken’ noses of 2012
            *’Thumb’ noses that we still have now, for whatever reason
            *’Phallic’ noses from 2014
            *T-wings of this year

            I have no issues with innovation and spotting loopholes, but it can’t come to the extreme detriment of the car. Whether you or I like it or not, this is also a ‘show’ these days, and driving around F1 cars with phallic shapes on the front of them isn’t good for anyone associated with the sport and/or show.

            I personally think it’s important these are stamped out before the rules are released. Enough of the unpleasant and ugly surprises.

      4. Fukobayashi (@)
        19th May 2017, 14:18

        The first comment and someone is moaning about 3 people who just got hired to make F1 better.

    2. This all sounds great to me. It really does. There is an air of optimism surrounding F1, which it hasn’t had in years.

      1. Yeah I agree. I don’t how things will play out in the long-term but it’s the first time I’ve had any hope that things might get better in a long while!

      2. Yep true, I never been more excited for F1, the last time was 2010.

      3. For me at least the positivity comes from the fan-focused changes that are already starting to happen with access to drivers, streaming of footage and so on, and the fact that I trust Brawn as a very skilled F1 veteran who has the passion to do what’s right for the sport and not just the shareholders.

        Instead of half of the roundup being complaints from Bernie and the other half complaints about his knee-jerk changes, we now have forward-thinking and upbeat talk of how the future of the sport can be improved for the fans, with enough apparent sincerity to believe in.

    3. I think this is a very important piece of news. Won’t get much attention but surely has truly long-term consequence for F1.

      Good days to be optimistic.

    4. Fukobayashi (@)
      19th May 2017, 14:19

      I’m calling it now, the 2020 season is going to be an absolutely vintage one.

    5. Michael Brown (@)
      19th May 2017, 14:49


      1. Populisms have no place in F1, as in “pinnacle of motor racing”.

        It should be a sport based on merit: the quest for optimum designs, fastest laptimes and most coordinated teamwork.

        It has no place being associated with ignorant, chauvinistic and deceiving slogans like that or “stable and strong”.

    6. This is all great, but who’s going to talk to the FIA? I still don’t fully understand the amount of power the commercial rights holder has, regardless of what Mosley sold off. It wasn’t an FOM decision to go to V6 turbo engines, and as far as I’m aware it is the FIA that increases DRS zones, etc. I wonder what power struggles will ensue in the years ahead.

      1. I think Todt will work with Brawn.

        1. Certainly hope so.

      2. In the F1 strategy group, FOM has 6 votes, FIA also has 6 votes, 5 top teams each have a vote and one extra team has a vote. So FOM has a third of the vote and if they join up with the teams it could be a majority vote.

        The WSMC can then block a proposal, but proposals need to come from the F1 strategy group.

    7. Rick Lopez (@viscountviktor)
      19th May 2017, 17:35

      Wasn’t Craig Wilson at Williams? What happened there?

    8. So grateful to have the steady hand of Ross Brawn on the wheel for the tech side of F1. Especially after so many years of hoping for some sanity and logic instead of chaos. I appreciate how Brawn seems to be taking the approach of being methodical and analytical, listening to feedback, then moving forward in a positive way. I believe the rewards of this process will be great!

      1. Couldn’t agree more.

    9. Hmmm I’m catching flack. My intention was to say that the need to employ these people full time seems over the top. Assuming they have long term contracts ( Brawn’s 5 year plan) what the hell will they discuss day in day out for that period of time?
      Perhaps it’s the difference between small business owners and corporate employment?

      1. @tenerifeman
        Aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, finances….

        I don’t have much clue about finances or engineering in Motorsports, but those things seem awfully important for the top-tier racing that yields nearly two billions in turnover.

      2. @tenerifeman The hard day in day out work will be in figuring out what F1 wants to be going forward, and how to get cars racing closer in a way that doesn’t just continue to isolate the have-not teams from the traditional have teams, and to get all the teams to agree to this new focus that is to be for the good of F1 overall.

        So it’s about a) defining who they want to be an as entity, b) figuring out an optimum car format for closer non-Drs racing, while c) getting all the teams on board, while d) making F1 more sustainable for the smaller teams while not continuing to skew things toward the rich teams, while e) growing the audience.

        Ie. There’s plenty that can and needs be done. Way more than part-time employment would satisfy.

      3. @tenerifeman – No flak here, but in a sport business valued in the billions having a small staff tasked with the technical future of the sport is extremely minuscule in cost. Especially considering the potential and what will be the actual impact on the future of the sport. The scale of importance, vs. the relatively amount of minor cost, and considering the margin of possible error (for getting the technical side wrong), is immense.

    10. Good call. For the next set of regulations we don’t need no lobbying we need as close as possible to an impartial adjudicator and this team can provide that to the FIA. Brawn can act as a bridge between FOM FIA and the teams.

    11. 3 more is a good start, we should get 30-50 people on designing prooper regulations, with good focus on close racing and bringing down the cost. Their success is worth potentially 100-500 milion in new revenue.

    12. Sounds like a buffer group for the owners to me.

      1. This is all excellent but it seems to have been forgotten that it is the FIA who make the rules not the commercial rights leaseholder. If Ross and his new chaps were working for the FIA it would be what should be happening. As it is, with a president so inactive in F1, all the initiative has to come from outside the FIA. Meanwhile Todt will be globe-trotting lining up support for his third term of presidency.

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